When I was a young man, I hate to admit it, but I had a very short temper. There are still times that my temper gets the best of me. I can remember a number of times when I was a young man playing in a sport where I let my temper control my actions. I also can remember coming home after finishing the game and being so disappointed in me. I knew at the time I was losing my temper that my actions were not following those of Christ. I knew when I would return home that I had disappointed my Heavenly Father, as well as my earthly parents (many times). I cannot tell you the numbers of times I would pick up the phone to call someone to ask them for forgiveness. I remember many times when I needed to go to someone face-to-face to ask them to forgive me for my horrible attitude.
Of course, the Bible speaks to this very clearly. “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly” (Proverbs 14:29). In my flesh it is very easy to lose sight of what God wants for my life. There were times that I would win an argument, and realize in the end I had really lost because I did not control my temper. What a great personality trait to be slow to wrath! I have a very good friend from Jamaica who is like this. It takes a great deal to get him upset. I remember one day before a softball game when he was sitting on the bench and I was swinging a bat warming up. I thought it would be cool if I could knock his hat off by hitting the brim with my swing … I think you know where this is going … Let’s just say it didn’t work out exactly like I had envisioned it in my mind. I hit my friend in the head with my swing. He looked at me and simply asked, “Why did you do that?” He was slow to wrath (thank God for that!).
Today make it your goal to be slow to wrath. There will be people that disappoint you (hopefully none will hit you in the head with a bat), and there will be situations were you might be justified in being angry. Be careful to not have a hasty spirit. Be careful to act, not react. When we react, many times, we must then go back and repair the damage we have created. I want to be a man under control today. I want to be ready if God wants to use me today. I don’t want to be fuming about something that I think was unfair, or where I did not get my way. I want to be this wise man described in Proverbs 14.
“God is more interested in making us what we ought to be than in giving us what we think we ought to have.” – Unknown