Unrighteous Anger (Proverbs 16:32) - Radical

Unrighteous Anger (Proverbs 16:32)

“Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit and he who takes a city.”
– Proverbs 16:32

What imagery in this verse and what a truth to be learned, soaked in, applied in our loves. When we picture anger, we oftentimes have a picture of … I think what we would classify as like power. When people are showing anger, it feels like, okay, is that a picture of strength? Power? When we show anger in our lives? It’s like something is rising up in is and we’re thinking here specifically about unrighteous anger so don’t, when you hear this picture of anger in Proverbs 16:32, don’t picture Jesus in righteous anger turning over the tables of the temple in Mark Chapter 11.

We often view anger as a display of strength and power. But the Bible says that it is better to be slow to anger and self-controlled. May we examine our lives for areas where we struggle with unrighteous anger toward one another.

This Verse Points out Anger as Unjust

What we’re seeing here is anger that is unrighteous, anger that is not justified, anger that is expressed in ways that are not good for others and anger that is expressed in ways that are not glorifying to God, and we almost picture that as a display of power or might or strength, but the Bible is saying here, whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty. Strength is found in slowness to anger. More mighty, more powerful, stronger are those who are slow to anger.

Then he who rules his spirit, who has self control, who does not let his anger rise, get out of control is better than he who takes a city. Picture a warrior, a leader of an army going in and taking a city. Like what a picture of power and control. No no no no. He who rules his spirit is much more powerful, has much more control so to speak than even taking a city.

Proverbs 16:32 Encourages Us to Control our Anger

I want to encourage you just to think right now based on Proverbs 16:32 about how anger plays out in your life. With your words, your actions, your tone. Is there a lack of self control? Are there displays of anger in the way you speak, the way you act, the way you interact with others? That you need God’s strength to overcome? That you need God’s grace to rule and control?

Oh God, we know the fruit of your spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control so God we pray for that fruit in our lives. God, I pray particularly for struggles we have with anger. We pray that you would give us self-control, peace, joy, gentleness, kindness, and patience. God, please make us slow to anger.

Proverbs 16:32 Prays for God to Help us Overcome Anger

Help us in our relationships at home where sometimes we are so prone to be quick to anger, to be quick to lash out, to be quick to speak harshly, to just before we know it, to rise in anger toward those around us, even those we love most. God, the way that this plays out in our relationships at work. God, help us to be slow to anger. Lord, in our relationships in your church. Help us to be patient, kind, bearing with one another, forgiving one another, and self-controlled.

God, we pray for the fruit of your spirit, for help from your hand to overcome anger. Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty. God, we pray for your strength in us, not to be angry in ways that are harmful to others and dishonoring to you. He who rules his spirit better than he who takes a city. God, help us by your grace to rule our spirit. May your spirit rule our spirit and cause your fruit to be evident in us. Today, we pray for that. We pray that you would keep us from anger, help us to be slow to anger, and quick to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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