Proverbs 22 (HCSB)
24 Don’t make friends with an angry man,
and don’t be a companion of a hot-tempered man,
25 or you will learn his ways
and entangle yourself in a snare.
As a pre-teen boy, I admired various comic superhero characters. Then, I sometimes wished that God would supernaturally endow me with powerful abilities. Those days, I usually go to bed and dream of being a superhero – helping people, protecting the weak and halting evil.
One of the classic superhero characters that really impressed me was The Incredible Hulk. When the 80s Hulk TV series was first aired, I accidentally missed most of the pilot episode and caught only the ending part -just in time to see the emergence of the huge green monster. I was so charged up! My eyes opened wide. “God, I want the same power!” I would ask. I wanted the same strength of Hulk! He was awesome.
Since that night, I prayed hard. Daily hoping to be transformed into Hulk. Sadly, nothing happened. My prayers went unanswered.
Back in school, my friends told me that the Hulk emerged due to a laboratory accident (yes, there’s always a lab accident!). The accident transformed Dr Bruce Banner, a scientist, into the Hulk. As a result, whenever Dr Banner gets angry, he transforms into the powerful Hulk. But Hulk’s anger is uncontrollable. He smashes and causes much damage to anything or anyone around him. Only when he is calm, the Hulk transforms back into the gentle scientist, Dr Banner.
Seeing the carnage and danger the Hulk can cause to people and property, Dr Banner began a search for a cure to control anger. To control the Hulk.
I still recall the famous quote in the TV series. When an annoying investigative journalist relentlessly hunted the Hulk, Dr Banner cautioned him: “Mr McGee, don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I am angry!” That was a classic, unforgettable quote then.
This morning, we read Proverbs 22 verses 24-25. Here the writer cautions us on the dangers of anger. Proverbs is essentially Hebrew poetry. As I wrote before, we should not read Proverbs the way we read English poems.
The style of poetry employed in verses 24-25 is known as ‘synonymous parallelism’. Here the first line of the poem is similar to the second line. In addition, the second line intensifies the meaning of the first line. We are not to think that being angry (v 24a) and hot-tempered (v 24b) are the same. The second line is merely intensifying the meaning of the first line. Here the writer is cautioning us against being friends with those who cannot control their anger.
Verse 25 explains the reason. By being friends with those who cannot control their anger, we can be ensnared. We can fall into a trap. A common English idiom says that “a man is known by the company he keeps”. This is also true of women. If you mingle with those who love to gamble, chances are, you would be a gambler. If you keep the company of drunkards, chances are, you will be a drunkard. If you keep company with those who love to gossip, chances are, you are a gossiper too.
In the same vein, we must be careful whom we accept as our close companions. Mingling with angry folks, can lead to danger and loss of good witness for Christ.
Though a fictional character, Dr Banner’s aim to find a cure for anger is admirable. But on earth, the only way to control anger is by abiding in Jesus daily. Abiding with Jesus, the Spirit of Christ grants us gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:23). Then, we will slowly transform to be more like Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, I admit that there are times where my temper is short. I sometimes lose control. Forgive me Lord. Help me in those moments to seek You first and humble myself at Your feet. Help me to be gentle and to exercise self-control. Lord, I want to be like You. Teach me to control my anger. In Jesus name I ask. Amen.
箴言 22: 24 – 25
真正令我印象深刻的经典超级英雄角色之一是《無敵浩克》（The Incredible Hulk）。当80年代的《無敵浩克》电视连续剧首次播出时，我不小心错过了前面的几集，只看了后面的几集。但正好来的及看到了这巨大的绿色怪物出现。我当时是如此的兴奋！我向上帝求，“上帝，我想要同样的力量！” 他真的很厉害。从那天晚上开始，我努力地祷告，希望有一天能变身为無敵浩克。可悲的是，什么都没有发生。我的祷告没有得到回应。
回到学校后，我的朋友告诉我，無敵浩克是由于实验室的一场意外而出现的。那场意外使科学家布鲁斯·班纳（Dr Bruce Banner）变成了無敵浩克。因此，每当班纳博士一生气时，他都会转变为强大無敵的浩克。但是無敵浩克的愤怒是无法被控制的。他摧毁并对其周围的任何东西或任何人造成很大伤害。只有当他冷静时，無敵浩克才会变回温柔的科学家班纳博士。