“People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.”
– Proverbs 14:29
It’s hard not to react defensively when you are falsely accused of something, or when someone does or says something rude or obnoxious to you. Personally, I wear my heart on my sleeve and I have a hard time hiding my feelings when I am upset about something. The people closest to me can usually tell when something is wrong just by looking at me.
When I was a teenager, I just flat out told people what I thought of them when they were being rude to me. That was definitely not the godly way to handle those situations. All it did was make me look just as foolish as the person who had offended me in the first place.
James 1:19-20 says, “Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry. For a man’s anger does not promote the righteousness God [wishes and requires].” As believers, we are called to respond with God’s love, not to react in anger. We can do this by first being ‘quick to listen.’ It’s not just about hearing the words that a person is saying, but also trying to truly understand where they are coming from. Sometimes we need to go beyond what they are saying in order to try and understand why they are saying it. This will help give us grace, understanding, and compassion.
Next we must be ‘slow to speak.’ We need to pause and think about what we want to say before we say it. We need to ask ourselves if what we’re about to say is going to show this person God’s love, or fuel a fire of anger.
This last part was always the hardest for me. It says to be ‘slow to take offense.’ We need to be confident in who we are in Christ and not let the foolish words of others affect how we see ourselves. We need to put on spiritual Teflon so that when words come at us to hurt us, they will just bounce right off of us, and we will be unaffected.
Every time you are faced with a person or situation that might bring out a “hot temper,” it is an opportunity to show them God’s love. Most people know they are being rude and it completely catches them off guard when you respond with love instead of anger. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.” It isn’t an easy thing to do, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can turn away wrath every time it comes our way!
Confession for today: “Lord, forgive me for having a hot temper at times. Help me to be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry. Fill me with Your grace and love so that I may pour it out onto every person I come into contact with, including the people who may frustrate me. I confess that I will not stir up anger, but I will respond with the love of God so that I may promote Your righteousness. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”
Let your light shine,