The Corrupting Influence of Mad Men

Michael Beck

“Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.” (Proverbs 22:24,25)

Our guard is up around our enemies, and down around our friends. Surely, our friends won’t hurt us. But we are often more in danger from our friends than our enemies. Our friends influence our attitudes and actions. More than we might realize, we are shaped by those we associate with. “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” (Prov. 27:17)

We need to choose wisely our traveling companions. Solomon warned against traveling the road of life with an angry person. Slowly, imperceptibly, their ways become our ways; their knee-jerk responses become our way of dealing with pain and trouble. The snare they have fallen into we now fall into as well.

Our words and actions will always be informed by what “manner of spirit” we are of. James and John were called the sons of thunder. When a Samaritan village refused Christ and His disciples passage they wanted to wipe it out. “Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?” (John 9:54) Outrageous acts arise out of unbridled frustration and indignation. “Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous …” (Prov. 27:4). Like Jonah, we can break ranks with the Spirit of Christ and call into question a heart of mercy and longsuffering, believing we “do well to be angry” with the wicked and wanting their destruction. (Jonah 4:9).

An angry person is bent toward brawling. Their fury fuels their will to win. The last thing they are willing to do is “endure grief, suffering wrongfully.” (1 Pet. 2:19) They see no glory in “taking patiently” mistreatment or injustice. (1 Peter 2:20) Their philosophy is “hit the other guy before he hits you.”

In “perilous times,” when men are becoming increasingly evil and ungodly, godliness is needed more than ever. How we respond will be determined by what manner of spirit we are of. We dare not follow in the footsteps of the angry, immature Peter, who could do nothing to strengthen his brethren. Such a firebrand could only stir up contention and retaliation – repaying evil with evil. “An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.” (Prov. 29:22)

Whether in the pulpit or the home, angry men in leadership do a grave disservice to those around them. They don’t exhort others to “fight the good fight of faith” in an awareness we “wrestle not against flesh and blood.” They sound the alarm to take up carnal weaponry and fight an evil fight excited by rage, disgust, and fear. They would destroy the very people Christ died to save. Because they don’t know what manner of spirit they are of, those around them must know them by their fruits, and refuse to be corrupted by their company.

Try the spirits and see whether they are of Christ. Steer clear of mad men. Make companions of those who walk even as Christ walked – travel the road of life with them, and become like them. The Spirit of Christ will not leave destruction in your wake; He will lead you through another village. (Luke 9:56)

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” (Proverbs 13:20)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.