God calls his people to be calm and calculated.
Think back to the last time that you observed someone get angry. As a spectator, it is often silly to see anger in others. From an outsider’s perspective, we can see overreactions and unjustified wrath. However, when we are the ones who are angered, we are blinded by it and it’s difficult to see clearly and think rationally.
Christians should have a habit of clearly thinking through situations before reacting. Proverbs 14:29 says, “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” Consciousness of our state of mind is crucial. If we are able to recognize when anger is taking over us, that is the first step to overtaking our temper.
One of my sons has an uncanny ability to recognize his state of mind. He’s only five years old and it’s remarkable to observe how aware he is of his actions. He doesn’t blindly throw temper tantrums, but at least he’s aware that he does it. He’ll say things like, “Dad, I feel very angry and if I stay here I will get myself in trouble. May I go to my room instead?” I think he’s wise beyond his years.
What if we recognized anger coming before it caused its damaging effects? In the moment, it always feels justified to act out on our anger. The key is not trusting what we feel. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (14:12). Often, the best option is to remove ourselves from a stressful situation, not to totally ignore it, but to revisit in a cool, calm, and collected fashion later. “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).