I grew up in Indiana in the 90s, and one of the big things that Indiana was known for then was a famous (infamous?) figure: Bobby Knight. Bobby Knight was the coach of the Hoosiers basketball team at Indiana University. Though he was a great coach, what he became famous for wasn’t a winning record, but for his temper problem. In 1974, he hit Kentucky coach Joe Hall during a game. He frequently used expletives and yelled at players and other coaches. What he is most famous for, however, is for throwing a chair across the floor during a Purdue game, which ultimately led to his ejection from the game.
You can call such a person “hot-headed,” “ill-tempered,” or “short-fused,” but the Bible simply calls him “an angry man.” (Proverbs 22:24). This is not the person who is righteously angry, as Jesus was in the Temple. He is selfishly angry, because he feels he has been wronged. He wants to make things right, but only for himself. Anger itself is not a sin, because God tells us in Ephesians 4:26 “Be ye angry, and sin not.” But most of the time when we are angry, we are sinning, and there is a person who is always angry.
Mr. Angry is not seen as a wise person. Proverbs 12:16 says “A fool’s wrath is presently known.” Mr. Angry is not known for his calm, thought-out decisions, but he often makes the wrong decision in his hasty anger (Proverbs 14:29). Rash decision are often the wrong ones, and Mr. Angry has many bad decisions in his wrath-filled wake. People will avoid him because he is “proud and haughty.” Proverbs 21:24 says: “Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.”
As a fool, Mr. Angry is prone to hurting other people with his wrath. Proverbs 27:4 says “Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous.” Mr. Angry is always ready to cut others down with his words, and has venom aplenty to spread in his anger. He says things that belittle others, and then attributes them only to his angry outbursts, as though those outbursts are an anomaly of his character, and not an amalgam. He not only hurts those he talks to, but he causes hurt in others as well. Proverbs 29:22 says “An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.” Mr. Angry will complain about others who have earned his ire (deservedly or not), and will spread vicious rumors about those he is angry. It is because of this that the words of Proverbs 22:24 ring true: “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go.”
Mr. Angry has a quick fuse. While the Bible extols those who are “longsuffering” and “slow to wrath,” (Proverbs 14:29), it doesn’t take much to get to Mr. Angry. He will fight at the drop of a hat, and often he will be the one to drop the hat. Proverbs 14:17 says “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly.” Mr. Angry seldom gives a moment’s chance to find out if he accurately understands the situation, if the offense is real or imagined, and if it warrants the kind of vitriol he would like to apply to his victim. He simply bursts out like a volcano, and people scatter. Often, Mr. Angry finds others like him: Mr. Wrath, Mr. Furious, Mr. Outburst. His words will fuel their words, which will fuel his words, which will end in a hurricane of fury, so that Proverbs 15:1 says “grievous words stir up anger.”
Until Jesus comes into his heart and makes him a new person, there is little hope for Mr. Angry. His emotions will always get him into trouble, always keep him in trouble, and will never give him the right kinds of friends that will help point him to Christ. Proverbs 19:19 “A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again.” Mr. Angry will probably end up hurting others, who will learn from his ways and hurt others as well. Only Jesus can break the cycle and give joy, peace, and love where once anger grew. Only Jesus can bring control over one’s spirit (Proverbs 25:28), and victory over Bobby Knight-like anger.