Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, For anger resides in the bosom of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9
How often do we as people, as believers, succumb to this? When was the last time that you were not just angry, but “eager in your heart to be angry?” I thought about this verse and what it really says and asked myself: What does it mean to be eager to be angry? Here is just one example of how I have been eager to be angry in the past. Driving to work or to a meeting with a couple people I knew were going to cause trouble, and what thought came into my head? The thought of an argument that has not happened but I expect to happen at some point during that day or that meeting. What do you do when that thought comes along? I play out the argument from both sides, but mostly my own side because I want to be prepared to give the answer that will:
- Do the most Good?
- Do the most Harm?
- Put someone in their place?
Finish the sentence as you would, but think about it. Are you being eager in your heart to be angry? “I am just playing out a scenario. I am not trying to be angry with anyone, this is just the way our conversations usually turn out.” Stop kidding yourself! Say what you like (and I do,) we are becoming eager in our heart to be angry. This particular scenario ends up with me being angry before I step out of the car and either my day or my meeting is predetermined to go downhill. Now admittedly those times are fewer and far between these days but they still happen on occasion. That is just one example of being ‘eager in your heart to be angry.” Can you think of other examples of how you are eager in your heart?
Now lets look at the second part of the verse – what is a fool? Am I really a fool?
I always held to a pretty strict interpretation of this verse: The fool says in his heart “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. Psalm 14:1 My interpretation has always been a fool is one separated from God. However using the limited free access I have to Logos Bible software, I came to see the word for fool in Ecclesiastes 7:9 is not the same interpretation as in Psalm 14:1, but more accurately means Stupid or Insolent as in the following verses:
He who conceals hatred has lying lips, and he who spreads slander is a fool. Proverbs 10:18
The mind of the intelligent seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on folly. Proverbs 15:14
So are you being a fool today? Have you played the fool lately? Remember that when you are preoccupied by anger you are deliberately keeping yourself separated from God. Yes, deliberately. You have a choice. It is an easy choice to see, but much more difficult to put into action. This is of course only one example of being eager to be angry, but it is the one most easily seen in my day to day. What about yours? Are their other ways you are being eager in your heart to be angry? Next time you are arguing with someone in your head over something you have not even discussed yet, remember, Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, For anger resides in the bosom of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9 Actively seek peace in your heart with God. Remember – only by His power can you truly overcome it. Blessings! Chris