The Wisdom of Patience
Read Proverbs 14:29
Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
Have you ever reacted too quickly in anger? Did it help the issue or make it worse?
I wish I could claim that my temper had never gotten the best of me. But it has. The worst is when I lose my temper before I completely understand the situation and find out that my anger wasn’t even warranted. I have lost my cool before I knew all the facts, and when I do that, I almost always end up looking stupid. It is folly.
The dictionary defines “folly” as “a lack of good sense; foolishness.” It defines “exalts” as “holding someone or something in very high regard.” So to paraphrase the proverb, when we act without patience, and we are quick to anger, we are holding foolishness in high regard. Yikes. Glorifying stupidity is probably not our intention, but that is what usually happens when we are hasty with our anger.
In contrast, when we are patient, we demonstrate understanding and wisdom. Being patient before we blow up has many benefits. First, it gives us the opportunity to calm down before we act. I have found that if I wait to respond to a situation, I am upset about until I am calm, the outcome of the situation is greatly improved.
Sometimes I discover that I was overreacting, and I realize I had no business being mad in the first place. Other times, I find out that my anger was justified. In those instances, being slow to respond to my anger provides me the time I need to address the issue calmly and with respect. It allows me to direct my anger towards addressing the problem and finding a solution.
Then I am able to handle my anger in a way that treats a fellow image bearer with the respect they deserve even if I have to speak hard or uncomfortable truths.
Friends, the best reason for being patient and slow to anger is because it glorifies God when we are. He is the one repeatedly referred to in the Scriptures as “slow to anger.” He models this for us. Let’s look at His perfect example and ask Him to help us learn from His ways.
Father, thank You for Your patience with me. Help me to learn how to be slow to anger from Your example. Amen.