The apostle Paul reminds us that “no temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man” (1 Cor. 10:13). That certainly applies to the danger of expressing wrath and anger! Anger in itself is not sinful (Eph. 4:26), but how we express it can be! Even Jesus was angry (Mark 3:5), but He didn’t respond by sinning. Many of us are tempted to have a “short fuse” when it comes to anger and its expression. The Bible tells us to be “slow to wrath” (Proverbs 14:29; 15:18; James 1:19), so how do we deal with the temptation to have a “short fuse?”
Hold back your emotions! Often we get angry when we try to control something or someone that is outside our power. Recognizing this, we need to realize that this is a time to use the self-control (Proverbs 16:32). Don’t rush headlong into anger (Eccl. 7:9).
Force yourself to listen! It’s important to make sure you have all the facts before you become wrathful. Understand what is going on! This is where being “swift to hear” really comes into play (James 1:19).
Don’t express opinions too soon! This is where “slow to speak” comes in (James 1:19). Make sure the other person or people involved know you are listening, and look for cues and invitations from them to express your opinions. And better than opinions, when you do speak, speak as the “oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11), making sure your speech is “seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6).
Ignore personal attacks! It is right to overlook such transgressions (Proverbs 19:11). This is what the Lord meant by “turning the other cheek” (Matt. 5:39).
Being quick-tempered is a learned response to real problems in the world (Proverbs 22:24-25). With God’s power in our lives, we can be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath!”
That’s the Bible way!
Matt Clifton McCrory church of Christ, McCrory, AR