Unjustified anger and short fuses that churn up resentment and bitterness seem to be all the rage today no matter where in the world you turn. Just about every day we hear stories about how they play out in society–whether it’s road rage incidents, domestic violence, or people taking others’ lives over the slightest slight. In some circles, it is even thought that if you don’t go off on someone for something as petty as them looking at you the “wrong way” (whatever that may mean), then it’s a sign of weakness.
However, God’s word teaches us principles that go against the world’s way of thinking. The Lord makes it crystal clear that short tempers and prideful human wrath are not only unbecoming, they are downright evil enough to keep us out of fellowship with God and ultimately out of heaven altogether. Thankfully, a relationship with the Lord Jesus exhibited by intimacy with the Father and the influence of and obedience to the leadership of the Holy Spirit can help us keep our tempers in check. Should we ever doubt the importance of reining in our tempers, Jehovah gives us many reminders in his word of the bad consequences of letting fleshly wrath get the best of us and the blessings of keeping wrath in check. The following verses are a few examples:
8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. 9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. Psalm 37
29 He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly. Proverbs 14
18 A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife. Proverbs 15
32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. Proverbs 16 (Contrary to what the world says, controlling one’s temper is actually a sign of great strength. Going ballistic out of pride is a sign of great weakness.)
19 A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again. Proverbs 19 (People with short fuses are hardheaded and tend not to learn from past mistakes.)
19 It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman. Proverbs 21
24 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: 25 Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul. Proverbs 22 (Short-tempered people are a bad influence and can rub off on you.)
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, … 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, … wrath, strife, … 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: Ephesians 4
8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath… Colossians 3
Still challenged by your temper? If you’re a genuine Christian, our Father has given you more than enough tools and power to squash it. All you need do is fight fire with fire–use the fire of the Holy Ghost against the fire of your temper. You can also fight fire with water–use the water of God’s word to douse the flames of a short temper, because having a short temper isn’t worth the trouble.
Harry A. Gaylord