What really gets our goat? What really makes us angry at others? Often, it is something that we cannot tolerate about someone else. What, then, is tolerance?
I can certainly tell you that tolerance is not the present cultural understanding that implies that we must agree with whatever someone else does or is. Tolerance can only exist in the tension of not agreeing with whatever that person is or is doing. A lack of tolerance shows up in anger. Very often it is the people pushing tolerance who show their lack of it toward people that don’t agree with them. They exhibit some real anger at “those people.”
So what is anger at others all about?
There are a few things in the Bible that hint at where anger at others comes from.
Anger at others is often equated with strife. A man who is prone to anger seems to be surrounded by controversy. He likes stirring the pot and making innuendo about others. On the other hand, a man who is slow to anger seems to quell the anxiety and strife that accompanies a predisposition to be disagreeable. This man, while he is not afraid of confrontation, picks his battles wisely. He is not a hot-head; he uses his gift of reason to think through his situations.
Proverbs 29:22 says, “a man of wrath stirs up strife, one given to anger causes much transgression.”
So who is this man of wrath?
His quick temper results from his foolish attitudes about life. He is greedy and always looking out for “number one.” He is always slighted at the sins others commit against him, but is virtually oblivious to the obvious ones he commits against almost everyone in his sphere. He is dishonest and conniving as he spreads poison about those at whom his anger is targeted. He recklessly and carelessly thrusts his judgments against them. He would never confront a person to his face, because that would risk his being called out on his own behavior. This kind of person is often disliked by most people. He has nothing good to say about anything. He is, as Prov. 25:28 says, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”
Conversely, the man who is not steeped in anger trusts in God. He is reminded daily that he sins and so is gracious when handling the sins of others. He is slow to attack them for things done wrong, and quickly acknowledges his own lack of ability to be perfect. This man is not quick to judge or become irritated. He is intimately aware of God’s love for him. He knows he does not deserve that love, and so he is able to give it away to others freely. He does not look for the faults of others, because he knows that God loves him in spite of his.
The man of wrath does not trust in God. He is his own God. This is precisely why he is angry. Who can be their own God? Certainly not a man who sins….and we all do that…..
See Ya Next Time