Daily Devotion|Day 264
“Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly” (Proverbs 14:29, ESV).
Anger is a passion common to all people. It is not the only passion. There are others like desire and hate. Whether anger is harmful or not depends on the following: what you’re angry about, who or what you direct your anger at, how long you’re angry for, how easily you get angry and how often you get angry. God gets angry. It’s recorded multiple times in the Scripture (for example Deuteronomy 9:20, Romans 1:18 and Revelation 16:1). But God’s anger is qualified. The Bible describes Him as “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Psalm 103:8). This means God is patient (long-suffering).
Not surprisingly, the Bible exhorts God’s children to be also slow to anger. And it reserves praise for those who obey this precept. Today’s opening Scripture is an example. It says, “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding.” That makes sense. When you are slow to anger, you are essentially being like God. And the more God-like you are, the greater your understanding. God supplies more understanding to those who fear Him and follow in His ways. Being slow to anger does not mean you never get angry. It just means anger is not your thing. It means anger is not your trademark; patience is. People who know you are more likely to describe you as a patient person.
Being slow to anger allows you to harness and direct your passions toward more beneficial things like love, service, justice, compassion, care and pursuit of knowledge. This, in turn, makes you more receptive to the wisdom of God. In fact, when you find a patient person, often that person is wise also. Wisdom and patience are inseparable.
On the opposite end, the Bible says the person “who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” In other words, this person is quick to get angry. In the process, he promotes foolishness. That makes sense too. When you have a hasty temper, your passions govern you, not your intelligence or fear of God. The natural result is that in your anger, you will say or do things that are unwise and unhelpful. The more you do this, you’re magnifying foolishness in your own life and in the world. If you don’t change, this can lead to aggressive or violent behavior. By the time you say, “I’m sorry,” you may have already caused irreparable emotional or physical harm.
Being slow to anger is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength, maturity and wisdom. It takes more strength to be patient than to be angry. Anger doesn’t require strength. Today, take the first step toward becoming more like your Father in heaven. Be slow to anger and make a difference. Amen.
For further study: Proverbs 16:32, Ecclesiastes 7:9 and Ephesians 4:24-32