When was the last time you lost your cool and acted foolishly? Is it okay to be mad as long as you do not hit someone? Have you ever gottent into the express lane in a supermarket, then realized you had more than 15 items? It happened recently to me. When it was my turn, I admitted I had sixteen items and the young lady at checkout said to keep the line moving and rang me through with no judgment. No one else said a word.
Yet a week later I was behind a few folks and could not help notice the lady three spots ahead had a full cart with stuff on the bottom rack of the cart. There was no question she was way over the limit. I was weighing whether I should say anything when a lady ahead of me raised her voice and sarcastically said, “Well, I wonder who has trouble counting to fifteen?”
The lady with the full cart turned and responded with a lot of attitude, “Look, mind your own business.” The other lady replied, “Normally I could, but the sign says the limit for this line is fifteen, not fifty.” Some pushing and shoving ensued, and the security guard had to step in and break up what could have been an ugly altercation. Phew! Talk about averting an anger problem.
Read Proverbs 29:11, 20, 22.
Would you lose your temper over a math conflict in a grocery store checkout line? Or is it more difficult for you when you get stuck behind a driver on the highway in the left passing line who is doing 55 miles per hour and won’t move over when you creep up on his bumper? Or how about the challenge you feel to not “hurt someone” who is talking to a friend in a movie theater as the previews are showing before the main feature? Or do you struggle more with a call that a referee makes that you disagree with? Those are the things to really get made about, right?
Pastor James says we all have a problen with taming our tongue. We all have a tipping point, don’t we? Can you remember losing it one time over a really stupid and inane matter? I’m not suggesting you have an anger problem, and you probably did not grab someone and physically manhandle them. You may have felt like it. Over something frivolous, too, like getting jumped in the crowded food line at the stadium when they said, “Next,” and someone cut in front of you to order. You don’t have to get mad at me, just nod your head in agreement.
To be honest, all of us have to admit we have a tendency to get upset, even angry. Can we at least start by admitting we have a problem? The apostle Paul argued (no pun intended) that unresolved anger can give the enemy of our soul a “foothold” in our lives (Ephesians 4:26-27). If we allow anger to rule us, we can fall into a trap of Satan, ignoring the Spirit’s help and doing what our adversary wants – succumb to fleshly desires and petty pouting.
You know that when you’re impatient, rude, sarcastic, short-tempered, even grouchy…leaning towards meanness, that you are following in the steps of the wrong master. If and when you give “full expression to your anger” (Proverbs 29:11), and you respond inappropriately to someone with words and/or actions, you reveal yourself to be a fool.
So the next time you find your temperature rising, ask yourself if it really matters. Pray and ask the Spirit for power to act Christlike. If you pause to do that, you’ve taken a step toward a Spirit empowered tongue taming. Walk wisely. Lose your cool and you’ll be a fool.
Love is a verb,
©2016 by Mike Olejarz