Anger Does Not Give Birth to Wisdom

Weekend Reading

The following is an excerpt from a portion of chapter 15 from my 2012 book, Picking a President or Any Other Elected Official. I am working on a revision for my new publisher (a Zondervan affiliate). If you would, please keep me in your prayers. Also, if you have a good idea for a new catchy title, pass it on in the comment section. Meanwhile, this is a good article to keep in mind as you listen to the rhetoric of the political candidates this season.

Picking a President Book CoverProverbs 15   Anger Does Not Give Birth to Wisdom.

A soft answer turns away wrath,
     but a harsh word stirs up anger.
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
     but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.
The Lord is far from the wicked,
     but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

Proverbs 15:1, 18, 29


Vitriol, bitterness, rancor, wrath, incendiary language, pejorative language, fierce and disdainful language, harsh, short fuses, in short—angry voices and tones seem to be the norm in the political arena at this moment in our history. There is more heat than light and more polarization than unity. Our nation is divided in a sea of mistrust and miscommunication. Yes, there are real and qualitative differences between the so-called Left and the so-called Right. But …

In the Midwest, where I once lived, just outside of the city of Chicago, during the time when my daughter was going to college,  there was what I call “the corridor of dueling billboards.” I One talk radio station on the “right” has a billboard that proudly declares, “Liberals Hate Us” and then the call letters of its radio station. Just a few miles up the road, is another billboard. This one declares with equal pride and a bit of humor, “Liberals Love Us.” Neither station purports to be a Christian station, but both have staked out their territory on the political landscape.

One day on the two hour round trip to pick up my daughter from college, I decided to listen to one talk radio station on “each side of the aisle” on each leg of the trip. Wow! What an education. What became clear listening to both stations was that neither one was listening, truly listening to the other. They each had their straw men concerning the other’s positions and were more than willing to pound away with “shock and awe” type language to impress their already converted audiences. Rancor, condemnation, harsh and judgmental bitterness were the rule of the day in most of what I heard from both stations.

But anger and bitterness rarely give birth to wisdom. The angry politician, like the angry neighbor is neither pleasant nor wise. And it is to that reality that Solomon speaks in chapter 15 of Proverbs.

1   A soft answer turns away wrath,
              but a harsh word stirs up anger.
18 A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
               but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.

How my soul longs for candidates who will reason rather than shill, who will seek to quiet contention rather than stir up strife. This text says in effect, that the longing in my heart is valid. It is consistent with the way of wisdom laid down in God’s word. Pray for God to raise up candidates in our local, state, and national elections that will resort to reason and rational arguments rather than politicizing every issue for narrow political and personal gain. We need men and women who will listen and apply the wise counsel of the first half of Proverbs 15:2:

“The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable,”

If we can’t find those candidates, we will be doomed to live with the second half of the verse:

“But the mouth of the fool spouts folly.” (NASB95)

Let’s pray for the former so we don’t end up with the latter. Persevere in prayer. Don’t get discouraged. Remember Solomon’s words later in the same chapter (v. 29).

The Lord is far from the wicked,
but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

Praying for your leaders, present and future, is a righteous act. It is a commanded act in God’s word (cf. 1 Tim. 2:2). And it will be blessed by God. Pray for your leaders on both sides of the political spectrum.

2 thoughts on “Anger Does Not Give Birth to Wisdom

  1. New book title for you.
    The Only Vote That Counts is Yours. Subtitle, Your Vote is More Powerful Than You Think
    Change History – Vote! Subtitled, How Single Votes have changed the Course of History.


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