Monday, August 16, 2010
Have you seen this guy before? When a man is wrong and won't admit it he often flys off the handle. He has an argument but never a good one; a bit like the preacher who wrote in the margin of his sermon notes: "argument weak, shout here!" The hothead works himself up into a dither―shutting his eyes and opening his mouth―and very soon he says what he'll be sorry for. He's like watching a neighbor's house on fire with no water to put it out. As Will Rogers said, "People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing." Proverbs teaches us that "An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression. A man's pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor." ―Proverbs 29:22-23
Generally, people who grossly overreact to trivial events with anger are suffering from a central lack of confidence; they are very insecure in themselves and anger is their cover. Angry people interpret everything as a personal slight; an insult to their already fragile egos. As a result they know what's wrong with everyone and every institution (often collecting ammo against them). It couldn't possibly be them―don't even try to go there. We expect immature two-year-olds to have tantrums, and we have some reasonable hope that they will outgrow it, but when we see it in so-called adults, it's exceptionally ugly. Who wants to be around that?
On the other hand, maturity is lovely, attractive and confident (because it's Christ-like). It doesn't have to intimidate people or shout them down. It knows how to treat others with respect and how to live in community. It even knows how to disagree with grace. It gives and, therefore, it also receives back a blessing from God. Maturity looks out, not in. It's ready to examine itself and accept responsibility with humility. It sees the best in others and seeks to help and encourage those that are weak. Maturity builds others up instead of tearing them down. Patience and kindness are really still the loveliest of virtues.