Proverbs 14:29 “He who is slow to anger has great understanding. But he who is quick tempered exalts folly.”
We probably all know the name of the famous Reformer of the 16th century John Calvin. He was a great and godly man whose influence has stretched over the centuries. But perhaps few of us know that on one occasion over the wording of a certain document Calvin lost his temper completely and uttered the most scathing and bitter words to those present. Calvin blamed himself severely for his conduct and soon repented of it. The event occurred when he was a young man and not as well-known as he was to become in later years. This tendency to anger was a lifelong struggle for John Calvin.
Like him we all have our faults and anger is probably one of them. Who of us does not know the embarrassment of losing our temper and saying things which we can never take back and for which we are truly sorry?
It is true of course that not all anger is sinful anger. Sometimes anger is the right response to some sin and injustice. But not the anger that so consumes us that we lose total control of ourselves and the result is that several people may be hurt as a result of our inability to govern ourselves.
Knowing our sinful tendency to anger the Apostle Paul wrote: “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26.
He was telling us to control ourselves when things occurred that stirred up anger. All disputes should be settled that very same day. Otherwise it is possible that brooding on the injustice that occurred may lead to increased anger and before you know it the devil has gained a foothold and great conflict and drama has unsettled all relationships.
Sometimes people’s words or actions can cause great hurt and we may feel justly angered. But it is far better to take time to reflect before we speak. We should all seek to preserve relationships and not break them.
This calls for good grace and self-control. But is this not how the Lord’s people should behave under all circumstances? We read of Jesus being angry in the New Testament but on each occasion it was because of the hard-heartedness of his listeners to God or sometimes even to the less fortunate.
If there is an apology to be made; or a relationship to heal, a bridge to cross with someone, why not do it right now, before this day ends?
You had every reason to be angry with all of us because of our rebelliousness against you, yet still you loved us and sent your only Son to save us. Forgive us for the times I have not reflected that graciousness and allowed myself to be led into anger and insult. Help me to put it right and give me grace to change. Amen.”