Proverbs 22:24 (NLT)
Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.
My dad had a pretty hot temper from time to time. My mother does, too. I definitely do and two of our kids struggle with their anger as well. Fortunately, I have not had too many friends over the years that were “hot-tempered”, but when I would hang out with the ones that were? My temper would flare, and my soul would harden…just like Scripture said it would.
Anger in and of itself is not necessarily a sin, as scripture clearly teaches us (Eph. 4:26) and God himself models for us (2 Sam. 6:7) …but we should not be too quick to justify ours because of reality of His. I would venture to guess that every single human on the planet today experiences anger, but for most of them, it does not generally describe their countenance. Today’s passage warns us against drawing near to people who are generally angry or hot-tempered. You never know what will set them off and you are usually surprised by the intensity of their heat towards even the smallest of annoyances. Do you know anyone like that? Are you like that?
God’s desire is that we should walk in as much peace and joy as possible, despite the fact that we live in a fallen and sin-soaked world. God calls us to separate ourselves from darkness…from worldly living…from the deeds of the devil…and from those that exhibit such traits (2 Cor. 6:14-17). This command does not contradict God’s command to go out and make disciples (Mth. 28:19), but it does calls us to be vigilant about who we associate with on a regular basis. The more time you spend with people of poor character, the more that character will attach itself to you (1 Cor. 15:33). You may feel “safe” at first because you don’t share those poor traits, but prolonged exposure to an angry and/or hot-tempered person is not a neutral experience.
When it comes to Great Commission pursuits and relationships, you may need to endure some time with angry people in order to show them the love of Christ but be careful not to over-expose yourself. Additionally, don’t tie yourself too closely to friends that struggle in this regard, either. You may think it won’t have an effect, but God’s Word says otherwise.