He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.
Office rage, road rage, air rage; everyone seems to be angry. It is often in these moments of rage that crazy things happen; co-workers are killed or a driver is run off the road. The tendency to anger quickly and then react on that anger has claimed many lives and has caused countless heartbreak.
Anger management has become popular during the last 30-50 years as people have tried to constructively deal with the ever human emotion of anger. Anger is a natural, normal human emotion. It happens. But how we deal with anger can make a powerful impact on our lives and the lives of the people around us.
In our scripture today, Solomon warns us about being quick tempered, or as the King James Bible calls it, “hasty of spirit.” When we are quick tempered we make mistakes. We lash out at the wrong people. We retaliate with a punishment that doesn’t fit the crime. We are literally like a swinging skillet that “flies off the handle”, destroying anything in its path. We become controlled by our rage.
Solomon tells us that we should be slow to anger. When we feel that emotion of anger rising up, we must take control. We may have to literally “stop in our tracks” and take a moment to catch our breath and think. We may need to remove ourselves from the immediate situation or environment so that we can clear our heads. Whatever we do, we should make sure that we do not react out of rage.
We must also make sure not to let our anger fester. The Bible also warns us not to “let the sun go down” on our anger. If you must deal with the situation that caused anger, deal with it. Let people know if they hurt you and allow them the opportunity to apologize. If they don’t apologize, ask God to help you release the anger so that it does not turn into bitterness. Do not make getting an apology from someone else the prerequisite for your forgiveness. Whatever is done is in the past and can never be changed. Use the power of forgiveness to regain control of your rage and the situation.
Lord, help me to be more like you. I want to be slow to anger and quick to forgive. Please heal the wounds of my heart and show me how to forgive. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.