The Book of Proverbs

Lesson 2 - “Help For Hotheads”

by Pastor Frank J. Cuozzo

Pastor Frank Cuozzo

Last week we started a new series from the book of Proverbs called, “Living Wisely in a Foolish World.” We talked about the meaning of wisdom, the benefits of wisdom and the acquisition of wisdom. Today our lesson deals with anger.


Do you ever get angry? Have you been angry lately? We all get angry from time to time. Men usually get angry more frequently than women and tend to express it in more aggressive, sometimes violent, behavior. While women tend to be less likely to express their anger externally, they tend to remain angry longer. Men tend to yell at people with whom they are angry; women tend to give people the silent treatment. Some of us are more subtle than others, but we are all "hotheads" at times. In the book of Proverbs we will find three things that will help any hothead.


#1) Reflect on the Results.

Men are more likely to get angry at things, while women usually get angry at people. However both are most likely to vent their anger is at home. Before losing our tempers, we should consider what truth found in Proverbs 19:19a which says, “A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again.” This means there is always a punishment, or consequence, for being angry. There are at least four consequences upon which we should reflect:

A)     Anger hurts relationships. Proverbs 29:22 says that, “An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.” Anger creates strife at home, at work, everywhere. If we don't learn to control our anger, it can ruin all our relationships. Many times I go home in a bad mood because I am angry about something.

B)   Anger causes health problems. Have you ever been so mad you got a headache? Why? When we're angry, our blood pressures go up and our immune systems go down. Anger can even trigger a heart attack. Men who have problems with anger are three times more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease and five times more likely to suffer a heart attack before age 55 than their cool-headed peers. What is the opposite of being angry? It is being cheerful. Proverbs 17:22 says that, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” This means our emotions affect our health, and anger is a deadly emotion in more ways than one.

C)  Anger causes foolish behavior. When we are angry, we say and do foolish things. As someone has said, "You will make the greatest speech you will ever regret when you are angry." Proverbs 14:17 says, “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly.”


The Bible also says a fool rages and is arrogant in Proverbs 14:16. Someone has described anger as "temporary insanity" because we do such foolish things when we are angry. We all get angry from time to time. When we do, we should remember what truth found in Proverbs 29:11 which says, “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.”

Illustration:

A lady was bitten by her dog and a few days later goes to her doctor. He tells her she has a severe case of rabies and only has a short time to live. She immediately asks for a pen and paper and begins writing. "Are you writing your will?" asks the doctor. "No," she replies, "it's a list of people I want my dog to bite!"


D)  Anger opens the door to Satan. The Bible tells us not to let the sun go down on our wrath in Ephesians 4:26. The very next verse tells us why, “Neither give place to the devil.” Every time we get angry we give the Devil a place to work in our lives—through bitterness, resentment, an uncontrolled tongue. When we get angry, we invite the Devil into our lives, saying, "Satan, would you ruin my marriage? Would you cause my kids to resent me? Satan, would you kill my happiness, ruin my testimony, and make me miserable?" That's what we do when we get angry and give the Devil a place.

We said that the first help for hotheads is to reflect on the results,

#2) We need to repent of the sin.

When dealing with our sin, we have two options: we can repress it or confess it. One of the important steps to overcoming our anger is realizing it is sin. When we get angry, we often "spray" our angry "venom" on those we love most, our spouses and kids.

We can't play the "blame game," blaming our parents or our circumstances. When we get angry, it's nobody's fault except ours. We must take responsibility for our actions and repent of the sin of anger. The word "repent" means more than being sorry or remorseful; it means we don't do it anymore. This doesn't always mean we can immediately annihilate our anger, but it does mean there will be an obvious effort to overcome the sin of anger. When we truly repent of the sin of anger, there will be obvious signs of improvement in that area.

We said that the first help for hotheads is to reflect on the results, and to repent of the sin,

#3) We need to restrain our reactions.

There are four things we must do to restrain our reactions.

A)   We must watch our words. What is the first thing you are tempted to do when you get angry? You want to verbally let it all out. Right?! Proverbs 10:19 tells us that, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.”

This means "blowing our stacks" and venting our anger only creates more problems. You've heard the old saying, "Make sure your words are soft and sweet today because you may have to eat them tomorrow." Proverbs 21:23 says that, “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.”

B)   We must handle our hurts. One of the main reasons for anger is being hurt by another person. On a regular basis we will be hurt or insulted by what people say or do. Proverbs 12:16 tells us that, “A fool's wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.”  Insecure people are easy to insult because they have a low self-image. Insults only hurt us if we fear they may be true. Insecure people can't overlook an insult or hurt; instead they get angry.

C)  We Must Hold back our hostility. You may say, "Pastor Frank, I can't hold back because I just have a short fuse. I can't control my anger." Oh yes, you can! It's not a short fuse that causes you to be a "hothead"; it's being foolish.

D)  We Must Pray for patience. Anger is a lack of patience. The cure for anger- control is Spirit-control, which the Bible calls being filled, or controlled, by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18). When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit is produced in our lives. The fourth component of the fruit of the Spirit is longsuffering. Patience, or longsuffering, is evidence of being controlled by the Holy Spirit, while anger is an indication of being controlled by the evil spirit, Satan.

Help for "hotheads" requires we reflect on the results, repent of the sin, and restrain our reactions. Which of these actions needs the most attention in your life, and what will you do about it, beginning today?


Let’s pray.



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