Yesterday was a day of frustration. Instead of an enjoyable day at a shooting competition, after multiple equipment failures, it culminated with a small temper tantrum in which I let anger get the best of me. We’ve all had those days, right? We’ve had a negative conversation at work, the kids don’t want to mind, or maybe a small spat with the husband? Then we have to face the world, who may not see where you’ve been or what your day has been like, yet we unleash a short temper on them.
One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil,
but a fool is reckless and careless.
A man of quick temper acts foolishly,
and a man of evil devices is hated.
Proverbs 14:16-17 (ESV)
These verses specifically addresses our quick temper and how flying off the handle can cause someone to do or say things that they may regret. It may not be the event that caused our anger emotion, but because of our hot-headedness, we react poorly to a situation. Let’s say you had that bad day, and now you are fighting Christmas traffic. Someone cuts you off. You lay on the horn… Or in the store, you grab the essential items like eggs and milk and head to the express line, only to find a person with 21 items starting to check out in front of you, and they need a price check. You audibly sigh and mumble under your breath while your body language clearly shows your disdain for that person in front of you.
Seems harmless, right? Unfortunately these “harmless” situations can become a grave danger to you and your flock. This is exactly how many incidents of violence begin. One driver having a bad day, reacting to another driver, and the battle ensues into road rage. As part of our awareness, we must also be aware of our own emotions and keep them in check to keep ourselves out of harms way. Worse yet, situations like this could also make it seem like we are the instigator in a violent crime. Witnesses may not see the initial instigating event, in which you are reacting to. If they don’t see it, it seems that you may be the instigator and the consequences may be grave.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak,
slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
James 1:19-20 (ESV)
That’s right. Anger fails to bring us to the righteous life that God desires for us. God wants us to be a patient people with each other. We need to train ourselves to be slow to speak (or act) and slow to anger to honor God in all we do. Not only are we honoring Him in doing that, we are respecting our fellow man and not letting evil invade (back to Proverbs 14:16). When we are short-tempered, we allow Satan a foothold in our actions, which does not bode well for us, and leads us into sinful ways, which is playing right into Satan’s hands. Maybe that person who cut you off in traffic is late for an important appointment or the person in the checkout line is in a hurry as well to make it home without paying another hour of babysitting. Keeping your anger under control shows grace for that other person and Satan hates grace. You win.
A fool gives full vent to his anger,
but a wise man keeps himself under control.
Proverbs 29:11 (NIV)
Do you have to work on your anger or short temper? Have a friend keep you accountable and allow them to call you out on it when they have noticed you’ve let it get the best of you. There’s some good Christian based self-help books you can read regarding healthy emotions, or if severe enough, consider seeking counseling for your anger. The more aware you are of your emotions, the better you can work on keeping them in check. Keeping your emotions in check brings health to your flock, glorifies God and keeps you and your flock out of harms way.