The Man of Heat
Monday, July 16, 2018
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
but he who is slow to anger quiets contention
Anger has many faces—the high school recluse who shocks the world with a rampage; the husband who vents on his wife with an acid tongue; the wife who “gets back” by turning cold. Or those who turn their anger outside in—into ulcers, depression, or crabbiness.
Then there is the classic “hothead.” Proverbs calls him hot-tempered (in Hebrew, the man of heat). We all know him. Even small things can “set him off,” we say, he “flies off the handle,” he “loses his temper,” he “goes ballistic.”
Of course, as Solomon says, anger only creates more anger, confusion, hurt feelings, division: The hot-tempered man stirs up strife. Like a forest fire that creates its own weather system, anger turns a flame into a firestorm. How many couples, for example, wind up in divorce court unable to name any real “problem” in their marriage? They “just fight all the time,” and they can’t take it anymore.
By contrast, he who is slow to anger quiets contention. That’s a lot harder than it sounds. Aristotle observed centuries ago that people feel angry because they feel “belittled” in some way—criticized, insulted, hurt, threatened, attacked. Our self-esteem takes a hit and we lash out! So slow to anger depends on denying self, on thinking about ourselves in Christ-centered ways. Question. Does your response to frustrations or criticism or insult quiet contentions? Or stir up strife? Your answer says a lot about you.
Welcome to Christ Church this Lord’s Day. Lay claim this day to the promise of God: But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace (Ps. 37:11).
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