September 09, 2011

Beyond Anger

James 3:13-18

Mockers stir up a city, but the wise turn away anger.
Proverbs 29:8


Wisdom does more than address our own anger, whether that anger is good or bad. Wisdom also addresses how we handle other people’s anger. That’s true whether people are angry at you, at someone else, or simply at the world.

Proverbs addresses this in a number of places and connects it with the spiritual exercise of patience. Proverbs 14:29 says, “Those who are patient have great understanding, but the quick-tempered display folly.” The Bible talks about patient people as peacemakers. In fact, Jesus says peacemakers are truly blessed (Matthew 5:9).

Good anger is one thing—and it has to be handled with godly wisdom. If we, however, are able to turn away or defuse someone’s bad anger, we can often send ripples of calm into a whole community. Blessing others, we are also blessed.

In peacemaking, the place to start is with ourselves. How do we react when someone else is boiling over with bad anger? Do we jump in with our own angry reaction to their anger? If we push that person’s buttons, insult him or her, or say something sharp because we’re tired (even if we’re right), and thus provoke someone’s anger even further, we are flirting with foolishness—theirs and ours.

Wisdom means we know better because we love peace. With patience and love, we can aim for blessing others.

Lord, help me to turn away anger through patience and love. Give me wisdom not to provoke the anger of others and to help angry people find peace. In Christ, Amen.

About the author — Henry Kranenburg

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