You love to be angry, don’t you? Come on – admit it! Even if every once in a while, given particular conditions, you enjoy anger. Strangely, there is something pleasant about it. An eagerness for anger flashes in your heart from time to time. When you’re offended, when someone doesn’t show you the respect you deserve, when a series of simple turns don’t go your way, you ignite a spark of anger. At times the spark flashes and fizzles out. At other times you cup your hands, gently blow on the tinder ball, and make fire. You love anger, and I do too.
Perhaps we enjoy making anger because it gives us a sense of power. Perhaps it is the vengeance inherent in anger that intrigues us. When you warm yourself by the ire (not fire, ire), you gain an upper hand. A cold shoulder shuts out your offender. If he wants to make peace, it’s too late. The door is locked. Or a burst of venom puts him in his place. And you are in control. In a twisted way, it feels good. Your rival is bound and gagged, slumped in the trunk and you are in the driver’s seat. Serves him right for speaking that way. That’ll show him. How strange it seems for something as dangerous as anger to bring us such glee, a sense of control and power. It may feel wise to gain the upper hand by kindling a fire of anger in our hearts. Scripture says the contrary.
“Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, for anger resides in the bosom of fools” (Ecc. 7:9). A command: do not. Anger is within our grasp and we grasp it. Anger does not fall on us like rain. Anger is activated from within a heart eager for revenge. The preacher of Ecclesiastes examines life in a fallen world. Accomplishments are forgotten, heirs squander the inheritance on folly, and sin makes vain to good intentions of men. Despite all the external forces of the preacher’s broken world, anger is willful. Do not be eager in your heart to be angry. In other words, do not indulge your sinful desire. Do not look forward to the control and power anger may afford you. For only a fool takes hold of such folly. Instead, douse the fire with the wisdom and patience available in the gospel. While living under the sun, look above to God, who will bring every act to judgment. Draw near to Christ who will judge justly and in Him find wisdom for your impatient heart.
Do you love anger? Here are some passages dealing with the folly of fury.
A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, But a fool is arrogant and careless. A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, And a man of evil devices is hated.
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
Do not associate with a man given to anger; Or go with a hot-tempered man, Or you will learn his ways And find a snare for yourself.
Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.