(Author’s Note: This is a blog post I wrote quite a few years ago and want to share it again. –Keith)
The one who is slow to anger has great understanding,
but the one who has a quick temper exalts folly.
Proverbs 14:29 (NET)
This is a hard one for me. Over the years I have developed a very quick temper and have lashed out many times without even thinking about it. It has become a habit. Family members have usually been on the receiving end of my temper. At other times it’s been an attendant in a drive-thru who made an innocent mistake with my order.
I haven’t always exploded in anger. In fact, I usually internalize the anger. I suppress it, keep it buried, keep quiet about it. It simmers at first, just sitting there, barely warm to the touch. It’s easy to keep a lid on a simmering pot. Inevitably though, something else happens. Someone makes a snide comment or someone cuts me off in traffic. I don’t react outwardly but I keep a lid on my anger, not realizing the flame has been turned up a little more.
Eventually more and more things have happened and the pot is now at a full rolling boil. It’s a lot harder to keep the lid on. I hold it down but steam is escaping around the sides, scalding family and friends with quick little spurts. Then suddenly the lid blows off, spraying everyone around, including myself. We are left burned, blistered, and in great pain.
Many times, the Bible is a mirror. I look into it and see what I am. Sadly, I am not lovely to look at most days. In fact, I’m downright ugly. The verse above shows me that I lack understanding, that I am a fool. Proverbs 1:7b says that “fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Fools don’t just lack wisdom. They despise it.
I despise it.
I need to face the fact that I have despised God’s wisdom and instruction. I have willingly and actively rejected what He teaches! As 14:29 says above, “the one who has a quick temper exalts folly.” (Emphasis mine.) Not only have I rejected God’s wisdom but I have exalted the exact opposite! I’ve been a Christian for over 30 years and have never realized that until now. Foolishness has become an idol. An idol is anything I place above God.
O Holy God, please forgive me for exalting foolishness over Your wisdom and instruction. Forgive me for my idolatry. I pray what David wrote, “Examine me, and probe my thoughts!/Test me, and know my concerns!/See if there is any idolatrous tendency in me,/and lead me in the reliable ancient path!” (Psalm 139:23-24 NET). Amen.
Grace and peace,