Anger's Snare

For Friday, June 29, 2007
Proverbs 22:24-25

Make no friendship with a man given to anger,
nor go with a wrathful man,
lest you learn his ways
and entangle yourself in a snare.

What might you learn from a man given to anger?

You might confuse a temper tantrum for forceful action. Men given to anger think that the expression of anger shows they "mean business," when it merely means they are immature. Those on the receiving end of the anger lose respect for such a man. If they seem to jump to orders at his rage, it is because of his position of power not because of the anger itself which they resent and behind his back will mock.

You might believe that anger is necessary to motivate yourself. This really is a danger, because such an idea has even become institutionalized. Athletes buy into wholesale, as do many others in competitive situations. They believe that anger gives them the competitive edge. They don't understand that it is not anger that marks the champion, but the commitment to excellence. Anger may gives spurts of energy, but more often than not it gives the competition the edge as the wise competitor knows how to use the other man's anger to his own advantage.

You might discover too late that you have unconciously taken on the traits of the angry friend, just as children of angry parents take on their parents' anger. You don't notice how the tone in your voice has changed, how quick you are to take offense. What you begin to see is how "sensitive" your friends are becoming, how impatient they seem to be with you, how irritating small things become. And then you are caught in the snare of losing those closest to you and lacking the patience to win them back.