Have you ever noticed how angry people always seem to have fights?
Think about it: hot-headed people always seem to be in a fight with someone. There seems to always be some kind of drama going on in their relationships.
If we take a step back and think, we’ll quickly discover the source of the conflict: the angry person.
Proverbs 15:18 observes this as well:
A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.Proverbs 15:18
New International Version
Just like someone who is constantly sarcastic, someone who gets angry quickly will only escalate the problem and make matters worse. Sometimes, they’ll just be angry about what is seemingly insignificant. When someone is hot-tempered, however, even the insignificant becomes a high-level irritant.
When I sold cars, I remembered there was a man who came into the dealership and he was angry. He had just left another dealership because they had somehow wronged him and now he was standing in front of me.
My job was to calm him down and try to sell him a truck. The problem was this man was a “hot head”. Not only was he put off by what he thought was a bad experience, he was mad at the world.
The entire time we were talking about what he wanted in a truck, he told me how much his wife nagged, his (adult) children were jerks, the bank was full of crooks, and even his boss was crooked.
I soon realized why this man had so many fights and problems in his life. Trouble will follow our hot-temperedness.
Patience, however, diffuses situations. When we cultivate an attitude to slow down, breathe, and then react, we’ll cool off the fires of anger—in ourselves and others.
It can be very difficult to learn this. Unfortunately, the Lord only teaches us patience by putting us in situations to be patient! It’s infuriating.
One of the ways I’ve found to help me develop patience is to remind myself how much grace I need (A LOT). Then, I consciously think, “If I need that much grace, then others probably need it too.” Tell yourself this enough and it WILL change your attitude towards others.
The reality is this: you can’t wait until you’re angry and want to rip someone’s head off to cultivate patience. You’ve already “lost it” by that point.
But when you find your blood pressure rising and anger starts welling up inside you, try this:
- Breathe in and out, slowly. Force your body to stop reacting by controlling your breathing.
- Count from one to twenty, slowly. Diffusing yourself is going to take some time.
- Walk away. Sometimes you just need to walk off and let yourself cool down.
When it’s all said and done, our exploding at people will rarely accomplish anything productive. Our confident patience, however, will not only have us feeling better, it will also help others feel better too.
Let’s work on being the peacemaker and not the trouble-maker.