Have you ever had a week where everything is irritating you? The kids are extra needy, your husband is trying to be helpful and solve your problems, and there is so much going on at work that it’s hard to wrap your head around it. When things are not going right I tend to get irritated and angry. I bottle things up until I burst and get so sharp about everything. Usually the people that are affected by this blow out is my family. I’m angry about everything and I don’t talk about the real reason for my frustration until my venting period (that has been known to last for hours.)
After talking to my husband about a lesson that he put together for the youth about being slow to anger, God was tapping me on the shoulder saying “Hey! I’m talking to you, Laura.” He brought me to this verse from Proverbs 29:11 “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man hold it in check.” As I was thinking about my own foolish behaviors from this week, I started thinking about Jesus’ behavior while in Jerusalem before his last days on earth. In the beginning of the week, Jesus is meeting with his friends and family. He enters the temple and sees his Father’s house being used in greed and deceit rather than prayer. Jesus was angry. So if Jesus was angry, than how does this verse in Proverbs make sense? In the verse I was missing the “full vent” and the “hold it in check”. Jesus was in control of his anger.
“He went into the temple complex and began to throw out those who were selling, and He said, ‘It is written, My house will be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves!’
Every day He was teaching in the temple complex. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people were looking for a way to destroy Him, but they could not find a way to do it because all the people were captivated by what they heard.” Luke 19:45-48.
As humans, we do not trust those that lose control of their anger to teach on how to live. So if Jesus lost control of his anger by his behaviors in the temple, how is it that those people were captivated by his teachings right after?
My Bible has notes and devotions on the sides and while I was in this quiet time it lead me to another passage. The notes for this passage in Ecclesiastes 10:4 got me thinking, “A person would certainly show himself to be a fool if he left the presence of an angry king. The wise person would remain, for his calmness would soothe the angry king.” Jesus was arrested and brought to the High Priests, to Pilate, to Herod Antipas, and back to Pilate during his trial. Each time one would ask him a question of entrapment Jesus was silent or calmly said “You have said it”. The calmness Jesus showed during his trial was baffling to the leaders. In Matthew 27, it says that Pilate was amazed at his reactions. So much so that he felt he need to publicly wash his hands of the crucifixion ruling.
God does not say that we should not be angry. He created the emotion. It is what we do with our anger that separates the fools from the wise. If we are to live our lives in the example of Jesus, we need to be wise and know when it is the right time to have controlled anger and when it is time to be calm even when the world around to is not. When something is frustrating me, I need to assess the real importance of my anger. Am I in control or am I venting by being upset about the little things that don’t matter? Am I being like Jesus and forgiving those that have done me wrong or am I bottling it up to hurt those that don’t deserve it later? Am I calm around those that are angry or do I feed into the wrath to cause hatred? So I ask you, are you wise or foolish with your anger?