We have all been angry, at one time or another. I certainly have and had to deal with someone else’s anger. The challenge is knowing, how to respond. Last night, a friend reminded me, of a story I had told earlier. The story occurred about 20 years ago and a good illustration of a friend applying this verse from Ecclesiastes 3:7:
7 A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
I, no longer recall the exact details but here is what happened. At the time, I was involved with a fantasy role playing group. We were sitting in the Student Center at Stockton State College; when Dave came and told of what happened.
Dave had gone to visit Frank, a member of the group. According to Dave, Frank was furious about the antics in the group. Dave could see that Frank was ready to explode and Dave’s speaking would only add fuel to the existing fire.
As the above verse says, there is a time to speak and a time to keep silent. This was a time for silence. While I would never call Dave, a fool; I am sure he’d agree with the wisdom of Proverbs 17:28:
28 Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent,
and discerning if he holds his tongue.
It helped that Dave didn’t take offense at Frank’s venting. As Frank’s anger died down, he became easier to talk with. Now, it was time to speak. I don’t recall what Dave said or how he responded. It may well be that Dave heeded the advice given in Proverbs 15:1:
1 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Did you notice the last part of that verse? A harsh comment or response would have just stirred up the fire of Frank’s anger. I will trust that Dave chose a gentle answer.
Growing up, I have often struggled with anger and am certainly not proud of it. I admired Dave, for how he handled this situation. It was something that I wanted for myself. With my Father’s help, I have made considerable progress and yet have some ways to go.
Is it not amazing how the Holy Spirit uses our experiences to teach Scriptural truths? He can use our own or those of other people. This includes the stories we read.