Patience has been defined as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without becoming angry or upset.
Every day we see more evidence patience seems to be disappearing from the American landscape and anger is getting further out of control. Uncontrolled anger is responsible for destroying countless marriages. Domestic violence and child abuse are rooted in anger.
Many people report regularly losing their temper at work. Air rage is the term to describe the angry outbursts taking place among travelers on commercial airlines, and incidents of road rage are showing up more frequently, with some incidents ending in death.
Anger is a natural emotion that can be expressed in a variety of healthy ways.
James 1:19 tells us that “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
Notice, the Bible doesn’t say don’t get angry. It says don’t become easily angered. But how can we learn to be slow at becoming angry? What do you do when anger starts to rise up? Is there anything we can do to head it off, or are we just helpless victims of impatience and anger?
Unfortunately, for some, anger has become a lifestyle. It’s what you learned growing up, and it is a habit you have adopted now yourself. Sometimes we get caught up in escalating patterns of anger.
Anger tends to breed more anger. Angry environments generate additional anger.
Proverbs 29:11 points out that “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”
Why is it foolish to give full vent to your anger? Why not yell and scream and freely dispense all of your hostility? Isn’t that better than bottling things up? Just blow up and get it over with. Throw a fit. Have the tantrum. Won’t that make everything better?
Giving full vent to your anger just creates more anger. It just keeps getting worse.
It is almost like there is an anger assembly line inside of you that works three shifts a day, 24-7-365. You can just keep churning out more anger day after day. Perhaps it is time to admit that there is a pattern of anger that needs to be broken in your life.
During the next few weeks, let’s explore some healthy and creative ways to avoid becoming so easily angered.
If you’re a hothead, or if you find yourself becoming constantly angry, perhaps there are some practical tips you can learn to help you cope more effectively with your anger and impatience.
Steve Greene is the lead pastor at The Point in Seymour. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.