Together in Christ: 'Don't Get Caught in the Cycle of the Destructive Anger of Others' — Proverbs 19:19

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Hot-tempered people must pay the penalty. If you rescue them once, you will have to do it again.
— Proverbs 19:19 NLT

Key Thought

Being a friend to someone with an out-of-control temper frequently comes with a heavy price tag. I remember riding with a friend to a major sporting event. He had not budgeted enough time to do his work before leaving. We left nearly an hour behind schedule. He began the trip angry with himself and with his last caller. Worsening traffic slowed us down even more. He soon began to drive like a crazy person, frightening all of us in the car with him and infuriating drivers he cut off. Thankfully no one went fully road rage on him, though they would have if they could have caught up with us.

We arrived at the sporting event seconds before it started. Unfortunately, none of us enjoyed it because of the awful experience of getting there. Several of us, at an opportune time, challenged this friend to get help with his anger. Each of us made clear that we would not do things with him again until he did. We knew it had to stop. We had already lived the proverb, "If you rescue them once, you will have to do it again."

Thankfully, our friend acknowledged that his anger permeated much of his life. He had already lost many possible friends to his abrasive demeanor. Thankfully, through help, he realized his anger went back to his harsh, unloving, never-affirming father. He then began to address his anger with his father, but it took decades for him to learn life skills to overcome it, bring it under control, and apologize for his previous lifestyle.

There is a price to pay for being mean, having a bad temper, living a life hostile toward others, and choosing not to address being hot-tempered. God's wisdom tells us to confront those who sin and try to help them change. [1] However, there comes a time when we must break ties with those who cannot or will not deal with their inner furies. They have chosen to live with the anger on their sleeves. They have accepted their expressing anger explosively toward others. With such people, rescue is seldom helpful, rarely appreciated, and never final until they choose to deal with the source of their rage appropriately; they must repent, apologize, learn ways to better deal with anger, and seek the healing that only God's Spirit can bring. However, the point of today's verse is clear: God's wisdom tells us that we must avoid such people who choose not to control their anger. If they choose not to change, then we must choose not to enable their sinful and destructive life, or it will drag us down with them.

Today's Prayer

Loving Father, I do not want to abandon my efforts to help those who have strayed from You, sinned by ignoring Your call to righteousness, or have entangled themselves in habitual destructive sin against others. I also realize today, dear Father, that You do not want me to ruin my life caught up in a never-ending cycle of rescuing those who do not want to change. O, Holy Spirit, please guide my steps and give me a wise yet tender heart. I ask all this in the name of Jesus, my Lord, and my example. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Matthew 18:12-20
  • James 1:15-27


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Illustration of Proverbs 19:19 NLT — Hot-tempered people must pay the penalty. If you rescue them once, you will have to do it again.

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.