"Extortion turns a wise man into a fool, and a bribe corrupts the heart. The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools" (Ecclesiastes 7:7-9).
Certain things ought to make us angry. Extortion is a good example, and so is bribery. Psalm 4:4 reminds us that anger and sin live next door to each other. While it is possible to be angry without sin, it isn't easy to stay angry without crossing the line into forbidden territory. The key is learning to control your own spirit. Verse 9 reveals one of the primary signs of a fool: He can't control his temper. If you cross him, he is "quickly provoked." In modern parlance, he has a short fuse.
It happened while I was out looking at new cars. I stopped at a local dealership, met the manager, and told him I was thinking about leasing a car. We chatted briefly and then he began showing me one of the models in the showroom. He was obviously proud of the car because he went on and on about dual-vent brakes, front-wheel drive, overhead cams, tune-ups that last 30,000 miles, and the all-important galvanized steel body. He was 30ish, personable, and a walking encyclopedia of knowledge about his product.
We started with the left rear of the car and he had talked his way along the side and under the hood when I heard a noise behind me. People were talking loudly but I couldn't quite make out what they were saying. No matter. The manager just kept on rolling about the turbo-charged pistons, or whatever.
The voices got louder until I couldn't help but turn and look. Two people, a young man in his early twenties and a lady slightly older (and taller), were screaming at each other. I think maybe she had something to do with the payroll and maybe he was angry because he wasn't getting his check. She screamed something about him being a low form of life and he shouted back a similar compliment. She made a reference to fertilizer and he answered in the same vein.
And all this happened while we--myself and the others in the showroom--looked on. It was ugly and scary because I thought they were going to come to blows. I hadn't seen people get angry in public like that in a long time.
The most amazing fact is that the manager never stopped talking. Even while they were cursing each other twenty feet away, he bragged about the transverse-mounted engine and the gas-filled struts. I didn't hear a word of it. He had me sit down in the driver's seat and I didn't feel a thing. We went outside to look at another model but I didn't see a thing.
All the way home all I could think of was what I had just experienced--the ugly words, the bitterness, all that verbal venom flying through the air. I bought my next car somewhere else.
Consider the power of anger. It overcomes a thousand well-spoken words.
To sign up for Pastor Ray's free weekly sermon email list, click here. You can find his daily weblog, online sermons, travel schedule, and other resources at www.keepbelieving.com. You can write Pastor Ray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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About Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 27 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 37 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, two daughters-in-law--Leah and Vanessa, and two grandsons--Knox and Eli. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.
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