“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention” (Proverbs 15:18 esv).
We live in a world where people’s tempers constantly simmer below the surface. If we hear something on the news, see something on social media, or hear someone say something that we do not agree with, how often do our tempers flare? How quick are we to respond?
Our hot-tempered responses rarely resolve anything. Rather, they lead to an escalation, which, as Proverbs says, stirs up strife. Yet we feel that we have the right to respond, even in the heat of the moment. We see this demonstrated in the world around us repeatedly.
Communication cannot occur in the midst of strife. Nothing positive comes from a hot temper. Often, hurtful and overheated comments result from such a response. Someone seeks to defend themself from attack rather than try to understand the issue or point of contention. In our desire to make ourselves heard—or when we respond in anger—we lose the ability to communicate.
“But he who is slow to anger quiets contention.”
The Bible provides practical instruction for us to develop into spiritually obedient followers of the Lord. In fact, biblical spirituality primarily pertains to how we interact with others in our daily lives.
Think for a moment how often in our world—in your own world—would a milder response heal a situation, allow for productive communication, and calm an escalating situation? How would it change our civil and political discourse? How would it impact the communication in our homes between spouses, children and parents?
Nothing lasting or of value can come from strife. If we cannot communicate in the most fundamental of manners, we certainly cannot encourage one another in following the Lord. How’s your temper? Are you slow to anger? Or do you reflect the hot-tempered society we live in? Do you seek to calm contention, or are you stirring up strife? Are you part of the solution or part of the problem?
Father, help us today to be slow to anger in word and deed. May we calm contention in our families, among our friends, in our communities and throughout the world, so that Your name is glorified through us. Amen.