Age of rage
Do not let yourself be quickly provoked, for anger resides in the heart of fools. – Ecclesiastes 7:9
Proverbs 16:32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.
Proverbs 16:32 Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.
The sale of antacids mounts year after year. Antacids are generally of two classes, those that neutralize gastric acid (sodium bicarbonate); and those that absorb acid (calcium and magnesium salts). But rumbling gastric distress is only covered over by antacids, but not eliminated.
We are living in an “Age of Rage.” People are seething, simmering, and smoldering inside. It is an age of churning anger.
People are quick-tempered and fast to anger. Daily news feeds are filled with crimes of violence resulting from outbursts of anger. It almost seems as though people are losing not only their tempers but also their minds, committing senseless acts, horrific acts, brutal acts against fellow workers, total strangers, or their own families.
Does anyone really want to appear foolish? Fools are known by their actions.
Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool. – Ecclesiastes 7:9
REFLECT & PRAY
It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt (Mark Twain).
Father, teach me to stir up and provoke gentleness rather than anger.
Anger can result from our own actions. We do things that make us look foolish or incompetent, and then become angry at ourselves. A good descriptor of this is internal anger or self-anger. Anger is often provoked and stirred up by the actions of others. This could be labeled as external anger.
Self-anger is handled by self-acceptance and self-forgiveness. Self-love as opposed to self-hatred goes a long way.
External anger is often the result of difficult childhood experiences and bad parenting. When anger is sowed in the heart of the child, it yields a bitter harvest of rage and wrath.
You reap what you sow,
More than you sow, and
Later than you sow (Stanley).
Hosea 8:7 They sow the wind, and so they will harvest the whirlwind!
Unresolved anger sets up a recurring cycle, a loop of wrath and rage. It repeats itself through several generations.
Numbers 14:18 The LORD is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected – even children in the third and fourth generations.
Can this be reversed? Absolutely! Through recognition, repentance and confession, the generational curse can be broken by anyone in the loop.
For parents. It begins with you. The feelings and responses of children need to be considered as a part of parental responsibility.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.
“Literally this means, do not provoke your children to anger so that they begin to seethe with resentment and irritation like sap swelling in a tree on a hot day” (Hughes).
The Greek word translated provoke is parorgizo which comes from para – by, beyond, near, toward, implying movement toward a certain point, and orgizo – to anger, irritate. Hence, parorgizo means to exasperate, provoke to anger, irritation or resentment.
This command prohibits making unreasonable demands on children in the everyday course of family life (Nelson). “This kind of provocation can inflame the child’s anger unnecessarily. Studies indicate that the factor that causes rage in teenagers more than any other is having to face life without adequate direction from their parents.” (Constable).
Resentment and exasperation grow in a climate of unreasonableness, selfishness, faultfinding, nagging, neglect, harsh and unfair punishment, threatening, and inconsistency. It can be exacerbated by parents refusing to acknowledge their children’s efforts and accomplishments; and instead denouncing them for never being good enough. Children are like tender shoots that can easily be crushed.
Is it possible to right the wrongs? Can anything be done when angry, exasperated children grow up into wrathful, hateful, angry adults?
All things are possible when the Father intervenes. But it is by no means certain. When we invite the Father to become the center of our lives, wonderful things can happen. Acts of kindness, understanding, gentleness, and godly instruction over time often work wonders. A positive, encouraging, safe environment characterized by love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).
Our heavenly Father yearns for, and actively seeks the restoration of broken lives and broken relationships. Consider the story of the prodigal son. The father longingly waits for the return of his son. When he finally comes home, all is forgiven. The father welcomes him with open arms and celebrates his safe return.
Luke 15:32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!
When God speaks, do we hear a forgiving or demanding Father, intimate or distant Friend, patient or intolerant Teacher, gentle or angry Guide, understanding or insensitive Counselor, generous or reluctant Provider, or a faithful or inconsistent Sustainer? (Stanley)
What do other people hear when we speak?