Nothing can cause problems for you and others like a bad temper. The Bible has much to say about the dangers of anger. For instance, “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) God’s Word also has good things to say about those who are slow to become angry. “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” (Proverbs 16:32)
Often, arguments escalate into fighting and violence because the other person does not really understand what we are trying to say, and we do not fully understand what they are trying to say to us. Because of our different personalities and methods of expression, there is a natural distortion of understanding when we talk to one another. This leads to misunderstandings and angry arguments.
Given what the Bible says about anger, how can we learn to control our tempers? How can we overcome communication problems? God’s Word has the answer: “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19, 20)
1. “Be Swift to HEAR.”
Listen to what the other person has to say. Try to put yourself in their situation and realize that what you hear may not be what they are really trying to tell you.
2. Be “Slow to SPEAK.”
Don’t talk. Listen first, then be careful about what you say and how you respond. Instead of arguing your point, try to repeat to them what you think they have said. Ask them, “Is this what you meant?” This leads to conversation and clarification.
3. Be “Slow to WRATH.”
Be slow to exhibit your temper. Never let a person cause you to lose your temper. To do this is to let them control you! Instead, you may need to walk away to cool down. Never follow someone who is trying to walk away from you. They need time to cool down and this will only escalate the argument.
4. “The wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God.”
The worst thing about violent anger is that our wrath dishonors God. Jesus Christ wants to bring peace to your life. He wants to bring peace to your friendships and relationships. Anger turned OUT is violence. Anger turned IN is bitterness. Rather than keeping anger bottled up inside or letting it out in a violent tirade, we can be used of God to bring peace to a situation through following the simple formula of James 1:19, 20.
Remember: “The best way to win an argument is to avoid one!”
© 2015 Stephen D. Baker All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Originally published in the book BAD STUFF.