- Dr. Stieglitz
Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 22:24,25
"Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man, or you will learn his ways and find a snare for yourself"
Solomon digs deep into the motivations and the manipulations of a person who is angered easily. It is a temptation that seems like a magic wand but instead captures you and limits your potential.
The person who is angry is the person who has had one of their expectations blocked, thwarted, or ignored. Anger is a forceful expression of selfish displeasure in the fact that what you wanted to happen is not happening or will not happen. Often the angry person learns that if they make a big enough scene or express enough anger, then others try and fix their anger by giving in to their expectations. Then a stimulus response is set up in the person which goes like this: If I am not getting what I want, then get angry because most of the time people are troubled by my open hostility and will try and give me what I want. Anger then becomes the means to getting what you want. The difficulty with that is that the display of anger also causes people to distance themselves from you and to write you off as an unstable or unreliable partner. You get what you want but you lose trust, confidence, and opportunities for advancement.
The use of anger to get your way is a temptation that will lock you into its use when it is inappropriate. It will become the key you prefer to use at all times to open locked doors. But it is often not the most appropriate key.
Anger is also energy for action but usually in a selfish direction. By the time you display anger in order to correct a missed expectation pride, envy, selfishness, and host of other negative motives have jumped on board to help.
There are appropriate times for anger such as when a righteous standard has been violated. Then the anger is not selfishly directed but instead directed toward the loss of another. It is also anger than can more easily be directed and controlled.
do not associate with a man given to anger
This is the Hebrew word raah which means to pasture, tend, graze. In other words, to spend a lot of time together and build a friendship or partnership. What takes place is that people learn from each other. If you hang out constantly with people who get what they want through anger, violence, or intimidation, then you will learn how to do it too; and it is a dead-end street even while you think you are getting what you want. You lose in-depth relationships if you use this means of getting what you want.
This is the Hebrew term alap which means learn. Solomon is saying that we learn from all the people we hang around with regularly. This is why the Apostle Paul says that "Bad company corrupts good morals." Be careful who you spend time with. If they are constantly angry or violent or intimidating, then you will learn to act this way to the people in your life. This will be disastrous to your relationships and progress in life.
This is the Hebrew word moques which means snare or a way of capturing an animal so that it is still alive but unable to escape. In this instance Solomon is saying that anger is a trap. It lures you in with the promise of getting what you want because people are afraid of your anger or violence, but then it boxes you in.
In order to get ahead in the real world and have real relationships with real people you have to know how to control yourself when you don't get your own way. You have to not become overcome with emotion because things did not go the way that you thought they should.
I meet these kinds of angry people all the time. They have all kinds of talent and brains, but they never rise in a company because they cannot really control their emotions when a project doesn't go the way they think it should. In their mind they have been conditioned to becoming angry every time when things don't go precisely as they think they should. This keeps them from promotions and from being seen as someone who others can go to for wisdom. You have to be able to control your emotions or they will significantly diminish your future.
Also, angry people limit or eliminate real relationships with people. In every real relationship there will be times when two people disagree or there will be a misunderstanding. You have to remain calm enough to listen through the difficulties. You have to be able to hold back your desire to get your own way and really listen to the other person. If anger constantly clouds your brain, then your relationships will be shallow and the growing loneliness in your heart will be because of your anger. No one can trust you with what they really think, and you will drive real substantial people away from you and be surrounded by people who wait for you to tell them their opinions.
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