Wonder Is Better Than Wrath

Dan Lovaglia, Camp Pastor, Camp Paradise | March 25, 2024

The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
    and patience is better than pride.
Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit,
    for anger resides in the lap of fools.
Ecclesiastes 7:8-9

Anger is a healthy and powerful emotion. It shows up to protect us when we’re in danger. It stirs us to action in the face of injustice. So why does anger turn sour so quickly? Why do we let it seethe in secret and release it sideways or as an explosion? If anger is good, how do we keep from getting it wrong?

I’ve been wondering about anger since I was a kid. I saw this raw emotion either stuffed or set ablaze all the time in my home. Honestly, it was scary. But it was scarier when I started being angry in destructive ways all on my own. I don’t like to admit that I’ve screamed at people I loved, punched fence posts after storming out the back door, and driven with the pedal to the floor to relieve tension, and more. Having an impulsive temper is something I have carried with me my whole life, but by God’s grace, I’m not who I once was. Today I’m able to handle my anger healthier. I have discovered—patiently, over time—that wonder is better than wrath.

Ecclesiastes 7 presents a series of “better than” statements that shape godly character, a roadmap of proverbs that guide walking with God well. Verses 8-9 hit home the importance of finishing strong, elevating patience over pride, and cautioning the quick-tempered away from recklessness. And to be clear, reckless anger doesn’t have to be explosive to be dangerous. Stewing isn’t as visible as raging, but neither reflects mature, godly patience. If we want to walk closely with God, we’re invited to slow down and welcome humility when we’re angry.

Exploring how wonder is better than wrath is a great way to be angry and not sin (Eph. 4:26). When you and I decide to be curious about our anger instead of impulsive, self-preserving and self-serving, it invites the Holy Spirit to relieve pressure inside and restore what’s broken outside.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when feeling anger. If you want to keep anger from wreaking havoc, let’s pursue wonder over wrath together.

What are five reasons that person did whatever that aren’t about me?

What’s behind or below my anger that’s fueling my gut reaction?

How can I slow down and welcome humility rather than do something destructive to me or someone else?

Questions like these are a gift for dealing with anger. If you want to keep anger from wreaking havoc, let’s pursue wonder over wrath together.

Next Steps

Think about a situation or person that you’re feeling angry about and reflect on the questions above. Then, talk it out with God in prayer and someone you trust so you can wonder your way toward a healthy next step.