A fool's anger is known at once, But a prudent man conceals dishonor. Proverbs 12:16
Ours is a society driven by rights and by slights. We are told that we have rights - and as a result of this education we demand them all the time. One of the rights that evidently is near the top of the list is the right never to be offended. That is why we have political correct language that is being ever more strictly enforced in our nation. We cannot say things that will offend anyone else. If the society determines that a certain word or phrase is no longer allowed - that word or phrase is banished from our circles. If someone were so foolish as to speak that word of phrase - he too will be banished - even fired from his job. If he is in the public eye - he will be summarily destroyed and cast upon the trash heap for the foreseeable future - possibly forever. We are the nation with the greatest law protecting free speech (our first ammendment) but also the greatest number of unwritten laws that restrict our speech as well as punish any who dare step over the line.
Our proverb today would help us greatly with our problems societally. We are first warned that only a fool's anger is known at once. The fool has no patience, therefore he is often disgusted and angry with others around him. He takes up the slighest offence - whether overt or covert - and becomes vexed about it immediately. The word for anger here is the Hebrew word "kaas" which means to be provoked to anger. The problem is that this man is easily provoked - and lets his anger blow the moment that he is. As we read here - his anger is know at once. He is unable to control himself - and also unable to let things roll off his back like water off of a duck. Every slight - every potential offence is taken to the deepest part of his being and fully embraced. There is little wonder therefore that he has a tendency to lose it whenever this happens. He is offended - angry - disgusted - and filled with rage toward whoever has knowingly or unknowingly slighted him.
The prudent man is the one who conceals this anger and offence. He is able to ignore the slights and snubs of life. He is able to deal with the insults and general indignities of living in the fallen world. Because he knows the world is fallen - he is aware that things like this are bound to happen. Because he knows he too is fallen - he is aware of the need to be gracious and kind as he carries on life in this world. He has learned to conceal dishonor. The word for dishonor here parallels the Hebrew word for forgiveness. He chooses to forgive and show mercy and grace rather than demand judgment and justice for every slight. He has learned that the merciful are blessed, for they too receive mercy.
Learning to be a prudent and wise man in this way will help you live much longer. The word prudent here is the Hebrew word "arum" which has the idea of being sensible. A sensible man knows that unless he wants his world to be in a continual state of stress, anger, rage, and bitter unforgiveness - he needs to let insults and vexation they can cause roll off of him. By this he keeps his blood pressure down - and his friendships up. If you are prone to become angry and blow off steam in almost every situation beware. You are ruining your own life and living like a fool. Be wise - be understanding - and be aware of the fallen world in which you live. Show mercy and grace - for it will bring you joy even in the midst of a world filled with plenty of ways to become frustrated and angered.
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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