Keep Calm and Carry On!
Do you occasionally struggle with anger? We live in a broken world where sin is rampant, injustice is commonplace, and anger rages all around us. This growing trend can also cause believers to stumble into anger and sin. Struggling economies and widespread fear often cause irritation and frustration, but they can also present challenges on a more personal level. Although we cannot change the situations around us, altering our responses to them is possible. When hurt by someone else's words or actions, we may be tempted to hurl a sarcastic reply or harbor resentment. But as followers of Jesus, we are called to model his life: "When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly (1 Peter 2:23)."
Today's verse from the book of Proverbs emphasizes the value of being slow to anger. This is especially important when facing verbal attacks. Quiet listening protects us from speaking rashly and offers us the opportunity to seek God's wisdom and grace. A calm, gentle reply can defuse most tense situations. Without taking time to process what was said, few of us will be able to respond wisely. When we are slow to anger, we can often gain an understanding of the situation and the hidden motives that a quick-tempered person can't objectively comprehend. Such a calm response is unnatural, but that shouldn't surprise us since the one who modeled it was Jesus. As Jesus' followers, our character must mirror his. Love and understanding must overrule our need to defend our opinions. Preserving civility must, at times, replace our need to be right. So pause, Keep Calm and Carry On; all things are possible with Jesus as our counselor, defender, and protector.
Grace and Peace,