NASB Ecclesiastes 7:9
“Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, For anger resides in the bosom of fools.”
Once upon a time, in real life, I was driving a White Buick Space Shuttle down Reed Market and feeling quite righteously indignant.
Ok. I wasn’t righteously indignant. But I was very indignant. That much is true.
It was just about 7 years, long enough that I forget even what I was angry about. What I do remember is my 3 year old son being used by G-d to powerfully impact my life.
I had struggled with anger for years. Resentment brought on by a sense of unfulfilled entitlement… Bitterness about the unfairness of life as I perceived everyone around me getting what they wanted and “needed” while I believed I was left on the sidelines.
No matter which way I slice it, the truth remains.
I was an angry woman.
I fought with my husband constantly, sniped at my children and only put on the “happy” face for church and Important events. Like family gatherings or phone calls from friends.
My heart was foolish. Weak. Desperate.
We had begun our first year of homeschooling, #1 was five. I had started with a bang. Genesis 1 collages, story boards, Alphabet work sheets and Bible memorization. Starting with Ecclesiastes 7:9.
Because the boys were not getting along well. And they just needed the power of the Word.
(Sometimes hindsight makes me groan, sometimes it makes me giggle. There’s a little of both going on right now.)
“Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, For anger resides in the bosom of fools.” Those words were written firmly on my little 3 year old’s heart. And he could recite them beautifully. But I didn’t think for a moment that he truly understood them.
Until that afternoon as we drove down Reed Market and he listened to his mother snark about something. And then, probably when I inhaled to start a new tirade, I heard a sweet little voice say, “Mama, don’t be excited about being angry in your heart. Anger rests in the bosom of fools.”
And, before I could get another word out, my heart, that very place where the anger was lodged was pierced, lanced, and supernaturally altered.
I was changed.
Just like that. For real.
Now, I’ve been angry since then. Sometimes justifiably angry. Times when cruelty struck those I love or unrighteous actions hurt people and created harmful situations. But the cancerous bitterness and irrational anger is gone.
Just. Like. That.
Anger rests in the bosom of fools. It is at peace in the deepest, quietest, most fundamental center of our being. And it makes fools of us.
Anger, no matter how it is provoked, should not be at rest in our spirit.
Sometimes anger is a motivator to remove ourselves from a dangerous relationship, situation or event. Sometimes we are angry because we believe we have been dealt with unjustly and desire a more reasoned and just solution.
Just as money is not inherently evil but it is, rather, the passion for its accumulation which produces all kinds of evil, so also does the ability to become comfortable with unresolved anger and rage produce ungodly and unrighteous behavior. Most notably, according to Ecclesiastes, it makes us become fools.
We need wisdom to know what to do with the power of anger. It is a force that can create horrific pain or define justice in an unjust world.
My prayer is that I would never forget that anger rests in the bosom of fools. I should never allow myself to be at peace with nurturing and feeding the anger that can so quickly destroy the wisdom G-d has given me. Liberally. Just because I asked. (James 1:5)