Verse of the Day Devotion: Proverbs 29:11
“A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back.” – Proverbs 29:11
This life we live can be difficult at times. It seems that many are so stressed that the simplest things can cause them to become angry and tell us what they really think about us. Work environments are much more difficult and can be very stressful. Political conversations can start out amiable but end up with yelling and other non-complementary actions. It can be so easy at times to lose our temper and say things that should never be said.
I remember when I was in the Air Force and I was a roommate with a Seventh Day Adventist. We agreed to attend each other’s church once and afterwards discuss our thoughts. I will not get into any details, but I made a huge mistake which caused him to walk away from the faith. I found an issue that he somewhat agreed with and I, in essence, beat him over the head with it. He believed Jesus died on the cross for his sins. He definitely lived the life of a Christian, probably more than I did at the time. To make a long story short, he left his church and Christianity all together and started living a life separate from Christ. I tried talking to him, but I could not get him to understand. Now I did get angry during parts of the discussion, and I believe this was the major reason for his decision, and I have regretted it ever sense.
Today, it seems that it does not take much to end up quarreling with people. And unfortunately I have seen this behavior between Christians. And the majority of time it has to do with doctrinal disagreements. Some over simple things like pre-tribulation verse post-tribulation rapture, or one that is very fiery (unfortunately) is the idea of Calvinism. However, we must be careful of how we address these for several reasons. First, if a brother or sister is in error doctrinally, yelling or insulting will only exacerbate the issue. They may turn away and not listen to us anymore. If what they believe is false doctrine, in love, show them their error. If we argue in anger or yell, we may lose them and strengthen their belief in the heresy.
And if we are speaking to a non-Christian regarding Jesus and how He died for us to provide salvation, we may end up in a debate because they do not believe in Him at the time of our conversation. If we raise our voice and/or insult them in any way, we may lose the opportunity to share the gospel and turn them away from desiring Christ. You see, if Christians treat people badly during times of evangelism, or if they see that we give up on them quickly, then we have no doubt lost the right to speak into their life. And this may eliminate anyone else from ministering to them as well.
We are called to spread the good news of Christ and the salvation He provides and the invitation He has given us. And we are called to disciple those new to the faith. Moreover, we are to do both with a heart filled with love and patience, for many times it will take longer to reach them then a single meeting. They must see we ourselves live the life we are inviting them to live. And we must take whatever time is needed in order not only to lead them to Christ but help them grow in the faith. Our Lord spent as much time as necessary to teach those He came across. As our focus verse says, “A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back.” Proverbs 29:11 Do we speak in love to those we come into contact with? Do we wisely present the truth so as to help them truly understand? Do we patiently help people understand or lose our patience and act as such in unwise ways? Do we lose our patience with people (fool), or do we hold back our anger (wise)? If the latter, we are doing well. If the former, then do the latter.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.