It has been said that the most influential people in our lives are our friends. Perhaps that’s why Solomon’s Thirty Sayings of the Wise includes a description of four friends we should avoid making: the hot-tempered, slothful, troublemaker, and rebellious. The second of the thirty sayings can be remembered as Anger Danger: “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared” (Proverbs 22:24-25).
If we make our closest allies those who are hotheaded, when conflict arises, we will exhibit their behavior and sin against our Creator. Left unchecked, anger is dangerous. Jesus’ half-brother James taught: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19). He proceeded to offer the reason: “Because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:20).
God seeks a healthy anger, a righteous indignation, which leads us to a physiological response. We should be angry about our sin or an unjust situation and then take action to correct it. Paul commanded: “‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:26-27). We must surrender our anger to God, filtering it through His Holy Spirt, and be quick to settle unreconciled conflict. Otherwise, we give the devil an opportunity to tempt, deceive, accuse, and destroy.
Have you adopted a quick temper you learned from a parent, a sibling, or a friend? Whether it demonstrates itself as road-rage, arguing with a referee, screaming at your children, popping a gasket with your business associates, or berating your spouse, stop the cycle. Surrender your anger to God. The next time you feel your blood boiling, take ten seconds to pray and filter your anger through the Holy Spirit before you text, email, call, or speak. He will give you peace and renew your heart to be shaped liked Jesus Christ.