Maybe I’m a conspiracy theorist. Maybe I’m crazy. But it seems to me like politicians and the media are both using the same strategic playbook. The strategy? It’s simple. Keep people angry because angry people can be manipulated to do whatever you want.
Happy people are less likely to stand in lines to vote or march in the streets. They are more likely to relax on a porch than religiously watch television news for the latest developments on the most recent scandal. Angry people, on the other hand, will get fired up about voting and do everything they can to get others to vote. They will turn to the streets to make certain their anger is heard. Anger needs to be heard. Happiness and contentment? Not so much.
Our society certainly has no shortage of anger to be heard. There is road rage. There is a constant sense of being offended (which is just an expression of anger). Haven’t you felt like yelling at your television or your neighbor or that complete stranger who won’t stop tail-gating you? We might even find ourselves filled with anger towards family members.
With so much anger around us, it is important to be reminded that anger is dangerous. (It’s probably just coincidence, but have you ever noticed that the word “anger” is hiding inside the word “danger”?)
Anger is dangerous to our souls because of its connection to sin. “A hot-tempered man abounds in transgression” (Prov. 29:22b). It isn’t just that an angry person sins. Their sins are bountiful. Over-flowing. “The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (Jam. 1:20).
Anger is dangerous because it leads to traps and judgment. Those who are hot-tempered “find a snare for themselves” (Prov. 22:25b). “A man of great anger will bear the penalty, for if you rescue him, you will only have to do it again” (Prov. 19:19). From this, we learn that an angry person will find himself in trouble again and again. He just can’t avoid it.
Anger is dangerous to our relationships. “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife” (Prov. 15:18), and again, “an angry man stirs up strife” (Prov. 29:22). Anger creates conflict.
Anger is dangerous to be around. Besides the strife that it will stir up in our relationships, there is the greater concern that anger is contagious. “Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man, or you will learn his ways” (Prov. 22:24-25a).
This last point is what makes the beginning of this article so terrifying. If we are surrounded by anger, aren’t we in real danger of learning their ways and becoming like them? Fortunately for us, wisdom can also be contagious. “He who walks with wise men will be wise” (Prov. 13:20).
This begs the question, which one are you spending more time around: anger or wisdom?