Day 22 in Proverbs
Proverbs 22:3 “When you see trouble coming, don’t be stupid and walk right into it – be smart and hide.”
Proverbs 22:8 “Troublemakers get in trouble, and their terrible anger will get them nowhere.”
Proverbs 22:10 “Arguments and fights will come to an end, if you chase away those who insult others.”
It’s no secret… I like mischief makers. People who are up to something. They are entertaining. They are unconventional. They make life interesting. I want to sit next to them in boring meetings and stand in line with them when I must stand in line. I want them with me on trips and want to hang out with them at parties. I usually gravitate right toward them. They are the ones with the gleam of fun shining in their eyes.
But there are mischief makers and there are troublemakers and while they have similarities, they are also very different. While mischief makers want to entertain and relieve boredom, troublemakers really make trouble. How can you tell the difference?
One of the biggest hints is the anger. If someone wants a fight to happen, if they want to provoke, if they want to annoy, if they usually want to have an argument instead of a civil conversation, they are a troublemaker. If someone is reckless in their intent, if they are unconcerned about the impact of their behavior on others, they are a troublemaker. If their words are meant to hurt, or belittle, or ridicule, they are are a troublemaker.
Anger is something that can easily get out of hand….and it can possess a person. I remember when I was a housemother at a children’s home. I worked with teenaged boys, many with anger issues. One day one of the boys had gotten hold of a large knife and was taking off after one of the other boys who had upset him. I was able to go behind him and restrain him and secure the knife, with the help of one of the other boys. Later one of the other houseparents said to me “You were the best person to be there to do that. He loves you. He never would have hurt you.” It was eye rolling time. She obviously knew nothing about anger.
When someone is in a rage, the only person they see is their target. No one else matters. The rage controls them. They are always dangerous. While this boy would have been devastated afterward had he hurt me, while he was in the rage he didn’t even know it was me that was there. I was simply someone who was getting in the way.
We think of anger often as only this explosive stuff. Quiet anger is probably more dangerous. The calm before the storm. When you notice someone harboring it, it’s best to stay away. They will draw you into their drama. Often anger comes with a bucket load of charm attached. Often we see the fear and the vulnerability attached and want to help (because anger is a major sign of fear and vulnerability.) But never focus more on the fear and the vulnerability and forget about the anger. It is always combustible. It can explode at any second…..and take you with it.
When we see people who don’t treat people well, when we see these people who insult others, it’s best to make them go away. That’s how you get peace. We can’t change people….they must change on their own. We also can’t enable bad behavior. We can’t let an angry or insulting person stay on the loose and hurt people.
You know when you see trouble coming….both the people and the situations. Keep your eyes open….it’s not difficult. When you see it, don’t stand and look at it for a while to see what happens. Run away or hide! Or else you will be quickly headed down the road to no where, firmly held in the grasp of trouble. A troublemaker is not your friend. There is no room for true friendship in their world. Their mind is occupied elsewhere.