Proverbs on Anger

Solomon prayed for wisdom and God gave him a heart to discern right from wrong. In this series, we are learning how to do right. Today, we will look at the right way to handle anger. Proverbs 19:11 says, “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.” What does it mean to be slow to anger and to overlook a transgression?  First, we have to understand… 

The Meaning of Anger
Anger is an emotion, a feeling of intense indignation regarding a real or imagined threat, frustration, or injustice toward you or others you love. The truth is that we all have anger! The key word throughout Scripture is slow. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry, and do not sin.” Be angry is a command, and so is do not sin. It is a sin to never get angry, but it is also a sin to blow up. Wisdom is slow to anger. Psalm 103:8 says the Lord is slow to anger. Proverbs 16:32 says, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty.” Anger is natural and normal. What you do with it makes it a sin. Jesus never sinned yet He got angry and drove out the moneychangers from the temple. He did it out of love for the Father’s House and the people. Anger is a God-given capacity. What makes you mad? We should get angry over injustice in the world, not things like losing our keys or being cut off in traffic.

The Misuse of Anger
Moses, David, Jonah, and Peter all got angry and got in trouble. Take Moses for example. He paid a high price for how he acted and didn’t get to enter the Promised Land. Anger can get you in a lot of trouble. Don’t fly off the handle or into a fit of rage. Will Rogers said, “People who fly into rage seldom make a good landing.” Proverbs 14:17 says, “A quick-tempered man acts foolishly.” Have you ever said something or did something when you were mad and then felt like a fool afterwards? “He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly” (Prov. 14:29).

The Management of Anger
It is so important to confront your anger. It is pride that says, “I am above getting angry.” Stop refusing to deal with it. Stop making excuses like, “God made me that way.  I just have Irish blood in me.” Consider your anger. Ask yourself, “Why am I so mad?” Sometimes we are mad over daily irritations or hurt from the past and everyone around pays for what someone else did.

It is also important to control your anger. You can control it. Just let the phone ring in the middle of an argument. You go from screaming, to a calm, “Hello.” The person on the other end of the line has no idea you were just in an argument! Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  It is not just what you say but how you say it. Anger is a choice.

Confess your anger. Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “‘Be angry, and do not sin’: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” Settle your conflict before you go to bed. Don’t allow the problem to fester. Don’t let the devil get the best of you. When your temper gets the best of you it reveals the worst in you. Break the stronghold and curse. Don’t pass it down to your children. Get alone with God and confess your anger and your sin to Jesus.

Finally, channel your anger. Redirect it to something else. You may say, “I’m so mad I’m going to clean out the garage!” That would be a great thing. Go exercise, hit golf balls at the driving range, etc.

In anger, the world killed Jesus. He opened not His mouth. He could have destroyed us all, but instead He took the anger and the wrath of God that we deserved. Through Jesus, and His death and resurrection, we can have victory over our anger!

Proverbs on Words

As we saw last week, the theme of the book of Proverbs is wisdom. The first nine chapters are on wisdom, but starting with Chapter 10, there are 375 individual proverbs that carry self-contained lessons. That’s different than any other book. This week we will look at aligning our words with wisdom. The words tongue, mouth, lips, and words are used almost 150 times in Proverbs.

Proverbs 18:21 says that “death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Most everyone would agree that words are powerful! Tammy and I had never dated. We were best friends. On a Tuesday night, I went to her college campus with seven questions. The last one was, “Will you marry me?” Those four words changed my life and hers forever! After we were married three months, we said, “Let’s start a family.” On Christmas Day, she woke up with morning sickness! Words are powerful!

The Power of Destructive Words
Words can hurt, cut, and kill. Words have caused suicide, started wars, and destroyed friendships. Proverbs 16:28 says, “…a whisperer separates the best of friends” and 11:13 says, “A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.” Talebearer means to go about. A gossip goes from person to person running their mouth. Mind your own business! Think before you speak. Don’t get involved in someone else’s argument. Stop listening to gossip! “He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips” (Prov. 20:19).

Proverbs 12:18 says, “There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health.” Some parents only speak negatively to their children. For some spouses, the only thing they ever really say to their mate is negative, short, hateful, or with a harsh tone of voice. Before you say a word stop and think, It is true? Is it confidential? Is it kind? Is it helpful? Is it necessary?

Proverbs 6:16 begins a passage in which we read of things the Lord hates. Three of the seven have to do with the tongue – a lying tongue, a false witness, and one who sows discord. “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Prov. 10:19). The more you speak the more likely you are to be misunderstood and hurt someone. Less is more! People, marriages, families, churches, and relationships are dying because of harsh words. They are dying to hear healing words of love, affirmation, encouragement.

The Power of Constructive Words
Proverbs describes positive/constructive words as silver (10:20), a tree of life (15:4), food (10:21), refreshing water (10:11, 18:4), and medicine (12:18). Words have the power to create and transform. Creation came out of communication. God said, “Let there be light.” Most of Jesus’ miracles happened through His words. Jesus spoke and the lame walked, lepers were healed, storms stopped, and the dead came back to life!

Proverbs 15 gives us another list of the ways positive words make a difference. “A soft answer turns away wrath… A wholesome tongue is a tree of life… The lips of the wise disperse knowledge… A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!” Verse 28 of that chapter says, “The heart of the righteous studies how to answer.” Be careful about what you say! You don’t always have to respond. Proverbs 13:3 says, “He who guards his mouth preserves his life.”

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver…” (Prov. 25:11). “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him” (Prov. 30:5). Change your words and you will change your life! Words have power over the listener and the speaker. Speak words of life. Speak the word of God. You hear it. The enemy hears it. God hears it.

Proverbs on Wisdom

A proverb has been defined as “a short statement based on long experience.” The theme of the book of Proverbs is wisdom, the right use of knowledge. If you are perfect and have never made any bad decisions, you can take the next 12 weeks off. We are going to study this book and cover a wide range of subjects that will help those of us who know we need it. Today, we begin with wisdom.

The What of Wisdom
When Solomon was taking over for his father David, he had a dream in which God asked him what one thing he wanted. God was willing to give Solomon anything he asked. Solomon asked for wisdom. In the first few verses of Proverbs 1, we read that Solomon sought wisdom, instruction, understanding, knowledge, increased learning, and wise counsel (v. 1-5). Wisdom is the one thing we need more than anything else. It is to your life what the foundation is to your house.

Wisdom and intellect or education are not the same. The Bible says knowledge alone puffs up, making you arrogant. Knowledge is for the head but wisdom is for the heart. Knowledge teaches you, but wisdom transforms you. Wisdom is supernatural. More than information, wisdom is application. We live in a world that is drowning in information and starving for wisdom. Proverbs 14:8 says, “The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way….” Wisdom is understanding why you do the things you do. When you are at a loss and don’t have a clue, ask God! He is not silent. He is speaking today.

The Way of Wisdom
Proverbs 2:1-3 says, “My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding….” A wise person is teachable. Tune in to God. Incline your ear to Him. Cry out for wisdom and discernment. James 1:5 says God will give it generously to those who ask. The wiser you become the more you realize how much you don’t know. Wise men receive rebuke and correction. How do you take rebuke? Fools get defensive, argue, and blame others.

The Worth of Wisdom
“If you seek [wisdom] as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God” (Prov. 2:4-5). Wisdom is more important than all the wealth and fame in the world. You cannot separate wisdom from the word of God. How much time do you spend reading the news compared to the Bible? Do you dig and search for hidden treasure in Scripture? Proverbs 16:16 says, “How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.” We are all capable of making decisions that we will regret and that will impact our children and grandchildren for years to come. Wisdom is a gift we can pass on that will last. Money they will spend, property they will sell, etc. Give them wisdom. Give them Jesus.

The Who of Wisdom
You can’t know wisdom without knowing Jesus. Colossians 2:3 says, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Wisdom is knowing what God is doing in our time. Our culture is addicted to youth. Everyone is looking for the fountain of youth but what we need is the fountain of life! The world thinks the Bible is behind the times. Proverbs tell us these truths have stood the test of time. The wisdom of God is a person, Jesus.

How can you become wise? You can’t know wisdom apart from knowing Jesus. Learning from Jesus and loving Jesus is wisdom. He is the way, the truth, and the life.

Greet One Another

I’ve certainly enjoyed the One Another series this summer! Thank you to Daniel and Dalton for preaching and blogging for me while I was away. It was great to be back preaching on Sunday! While there are 59 “one another” passages in Scripture, and we only looked at 10, it is clear that God commands us to do life with others. You cannot “one another” yourself! The way we live, act, and treat one another is evidence that we belong to Jesus. Living out these “one anothers” is living out the gospel before a watching world. The final command we will look at is “Greet one another…” (Romans 16:16).

It is Visible
Romans 16:16 says, “Greet one another with a holy kiss….” To greet with a kiss was a common practice in Bible times, and still is in parts of the world today. If it is not cultural to kiss, it may be to bow, to shake hands, or even to stick out your tongue. What these greetings have in common is that they can be seen. They are visible. A “holy” kiss takes the normal, cultural greeting and sanctifies it. We can greet each other with a holy handshake, a holy fist bump, or a holy high five. It is different in every culture. The form changes, but the function is the same. Demonstrate your love for others. A holy greeting is a genuine, heartfelt, appropriate, visible expression of love, not to be misunderstood or misused.

It is Valuable
In this chapter, we read the longest greeting list in the Bible. Paul mentions 35 people by name! He had many friends and he valued their friendship in the Lord. These people partnered with him and risked their lives for the sake of the Gospel! The church is family. We are brothers and sisters in Christ! Greeting one another is not optional or trivial. It is commanded. Paul used their names. The Bible lists the names of David’s mighty men, those who served with him. Do you know people’s names? When you go to a church it is obvious if there is someone there to greet you. Some churches are like the frozen chosen! No one smiles, speaks, or waves at you. Don’t be a cold fish or snobbish! We must work at waving at one another, greeting one another, and saying, “Good morning!” and “Glad to see you!”

It is Victorious
Romans 16:17 says to “note those who cause divisions and offenses.” It is the nature of love to warn against anyone or anything that would harm those we love. We must oppose what is harmful or evil. Spouses do that for one another. Parents do that for their children. The Bible not only lists David’s mighty men, but also his enemies! God lists those who helped Nehemiah, and those who opposed him. Whose side are you on? Will eternity reveal that you helped or hindered the work? Remember the story of the prodigal son? Did the elder brother greet his brother? No! The father embraced and kissed him, but the elder brother is religious. He hears the music and hates it. He refuses to celebrate. The greeting, the kiss, the celebration, and the focus on the lost is right! Churches are dying across America because they spend all their time and resources not reaching the prodigal, but trying to pacify the elder brothers! God has not called us to make sure cranky Christians are happy! Mark and avoid those who divide!

Verse 20 says, “And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.” How did Judas betray our Lord? With a kiss. The kiss of death! Some people will mean the kiss of death on a church. That is not the end, however, because God promised in Genesis that He would send a Messiah. Satan would bruise His heel, and He would crush the Serpent’s head. Jesus is crushing Satan under YOUR feet!

Jesus welcomed the lepers, sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, and Samaritans. We must greet and welcome all nations, people groups, and the marginalized of our day. Because Jesus prays for, comforts, prefers, forgives, and encourages us, we can do the same for others. Because Jesus welcomed us into His family, we can greet and welcome others into the family.