A man of great anger will bear the penalty, For if you rescue him, you will only have to do it again. Proverbs 19:19
The "hot-head" is the focus of this proverb. The man who has a firey disposition and who is in the habit of responding and reacting to what happens to him in angry outbursts. He reacts to things with a rage - in fact what this passage says is that he does so with "great" rage. The word here is "gadol" which means something huge, mamoth, and gargantuan in size. This is not normal anger - it is enraged anger that loses control. What does God say to us about this kind of man? What does the Lord counsel us concerning acting on his behalf?
First of all God says that a man who has such huge anger issues is one who will bear the penalty of his actions. The word for penalty is "ownes" and means a fine, penalty, and referred to the fines that were levied against those who violated the law. The picture that is painted for us with the use of this particular word is that of someone whose anger lands them in jail. The enraged explosion they unleash on those who are the target of their anger goes beyond the law - and honestly - is very dangerous. You've heard of the man who in anger goes and gets a gun and returns to the bar or the house - and shoots the person with whom he is angry? That is this person's anger tactic at its worst. To join with this fellow is to risk being put in jail with him - for his actions are going to cross the line - and become illegal.
Second, we are told not to continue to resuce this man from his angry outbursts. The problem with him is that he does not learn from his previous outbursts. Instead - he continues in his rage and does it again and again. We are warned that if we rescue him from his outrageous outbursts - we will have to do it again. He does not need to be rescued from the consequences of his actions - instead he needs to face them squarely. Rescuing him from them will only mean that he will do it again. There is a lesson for him that can only be learned from facing stiff penalties for his outrageous behavior.
While we are dealing with this proverb, I would like to share something a very wise man taught me about anger - and something that can help those who struggle with it. This godly man said to me the following, "We become angry because we cannot control situations or people. When we cannot control them, we become infuriated at whatever or whoever is not doing what they should be doing - so we can be comfortable and uninterrupted in what WE want to do." This was, at the time, a devastating analysis of anger to me. I considered an angry outburst I had toward one of my children. According to this definition - my anger was not, as I asserted, because my child "made" me angry. My anger arose because my child was not doing what I wanted - and was interrupting what I wanted to be doing. Needless to say I was instantly convicted - repented - and had quite the crow-filled meal as I asked my son to forgive me. Later, when I realized I was not only angry at my son - I was also angry at God, Who in His perfect providence, decided that what I needed was an opportunity to be patient and kind. What I really wanted was a trial and testing free zone about me at all times. This led to a second meal of abundant crow as I sought God's forgiveness for my pride and arrogance in wanting Him to serve me in the providence He provided for me.
Anger - outbursts of anger - are a dangerous thing. We need to bear the penalty of these things so that we see them for what they are - manifestations of our pride and desire to control everything in our lives. We need to see them as a reminded that we DO NOT CONTROL our own lives. Angry outbursts are a warning sign to us that we are wanting the world around us to serve us at all times. This will NOT be the case - and unless we learn this - we will only have more of these times of "great anger" that will cost us dearly. Oh, to learn humility and submission to God and His providence quickly. Those who don't learn this - learn to feast on a whole lot of crow in their lives.
Proverb a Day
Each day, we'll take a look at a verse from the chapter of Proverbs for the day. Our hope is to gain wisdom each day - and from that wisdom - to have understanding to make godly decisions in the throes of everyday life.
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