Be Slow to Anger
Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool. Ecclesiastes 7:19
I looked up several versions and all of them stated: Do not be quick to be angry and that anger resides in the lap of fools (NIV), you can spot a fool (MSG), anger and vexation (the state of being annoyed or frustrated) lodge in the bosom of fools (AMP), and anger labels you a fool. Nobody wants to be known as a fool, but when we act out in anger we are very foolish.
Anger is a form of impatience, an undisciplined life, and a lack of self-control, rather than having a God controlled spirit. Anger leads to rage if we don't address the problem early on. This is why it is so important to be slow to anger. When I was younger I was enraged because of the hand I had been dealt. To make matters worse I turned my back on God. This is hard to admit but I did many things out of anger (hurting others physically) that I regret. I still deal with my anger at times in a way I shouldn't. Several months ago I punched the door and put a hole in it. This is foolish behavior and I not only looked like a fool, but then had to have help repairing the hole. Just the other day I screamed at someone over the phone and the next day I realized my thoughts were like those of the past. I allowed my anger to escalate by keeping my focus on what made me angry adding fuel to the fire. When we act out in this way we are embarrassed afterwards because of how foolish we look. If I can reach just one person to give them hope that they can change too it will be worth sharing some of my foolish moments.
Through my teenage years I was told that emotions (mine being anger) could cause your body to tense up in a certain spot. My spot is in the middle of my upper back. I was also told that physical activity would help me release this anger. Racquetball became my release and I loved it. When I released my anger I became quite good at this sport and people would watch me because I could hit the ball bouncing it off the back wall like the men who played. Some people run or go the gym and work out and this indeed does help.
However, this doesn't help us to grow spiritually. This is how we can grow spiritually which is even better than releasing anger physically. We need to exercise our patience and self-control. If you are still a work in progress like I am this simply means even if we still act out in anger the wrong way we are still making progress. This means we are nothing like we used to be and we are continually making progress moving forward and developing our character. It will definitely take more time and effort, but in the end it will be worth it.
Understand this, my brothers and sisters: you must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires - James 2:19-20. God desires us to live up to our full potential. Once you understand this take note of it and write it on your heart. During this life at some point someone will say something to make you angry. The question is how will you respond? I have already mentioned how to avoid being angry and acting out in foolishness. I want to leave you with one more key factor. Keep your focus on God and live the way He desires. We do this by allowing the Holy Spirit to strengthen us by His power: to transform us so we learn how to be patient and gain self-control. Making this wise decision will give us patience and when we overlook an offense others will notice that we are purposefully showing self-control.