“A fool’s anger is known at once…There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:16a, 18).
“A quick-tempered man acts foolishly…He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick tempered exalts folly… A tranquil heart is life to the body…” (Proverbs 14:17a, 29, 30a).
It seems that our society is not only driven by anxiety, but also by anger. Anxiety produces anger which produces more anxiety which in turn produces increasing anger; anger and anxiety feed off each other. People think that a display of anger will get them what they want, and they are often right because the level of anxiety is such that those to whom anger is directed will cave in rather than attempt a reasoned response – it is easier to just give the angry person what he wants.
People are drawn to political leaders who are angry; the leaders become channels for collective anger. People are not looking for reasoned and thoughtful approaches to problems, they are looking for leaders who will allow them to vent their anger and anxiety – the cycle becomes exponential. Will it burn itself out?
In the midst of this ocean of anger and anxiety we have an opportunity to share the peace of Jesus Christ, we have an opportunity to be different. If we are going to talk of the Prince of Peace we need to also live in the Prince of Peace and extend His peace in the midst of anxiety. We are ambassadors of the One of whom it is written, “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,” (Isaiah 9:7). Ambassadors do not represent themselves but the government which sent them; we are called to be Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), therefore we ought to think carefully before we act and speak and we ought to only say and do things which are in harmony with the One who has commissioned us and sent us (John 20:21; Matthew 28:19-20).
Our words are not to be like the thrusts of a sword - stabbing and tearing and ripping and gashing the souls of men and women and children; our words are to bring healing. I have often been a fool, I desire to be a fool no longer. This is a decision, it is an act of our will to submit ourselves to the lordship of Jesus Christ and to allow Him to use us to bring healing to others.
When we submit ourselves to Jesus and wait on Him, rather than vent anger, we gain understanding. A reason “he who is slow to anger has great understanding” is that when we slow down we allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us, to order our thoughts, to direct our hearts, to fashion our souls into the image of Jesus Christ. As we cultivate submission to Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit cultivates understanding within us; one of the fruits of this is a tranquil heart, which contributes to holistic health – a healthy person. A life of anger will kill us; it will kill our words, our thoughts, our relationships, and our health…it will kill our testimony of Jesus Christ. Anger will kill a church, shattering it in myriad pieces. A life of anger is a life of death, it is no life at all.
We live in the midst of a society of anger, hence a society of death. As followers of Jesus Christ we are called to be agents of peace and tranquility and life in the midst of the plague. We are called to bring words of healing in a culture permeated with the disease of anger.
Will we be obedient to our calling today?
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.”