Rash decisions: we all make them from time to time. Our most rash decisions often stem from anger. In our anger we are prone to say things that we regret. We say things that are intentionally hurtful. We make choices that are not well reasoned. We commit actions that are intentionally provocative.
The truth is that none of us are immune from anger. Even our Lord was got angry from time to time. We can certainly see numerous places in the Scriptures where the “LORD”s anger burned against them.” Anger is not a sinful emotion, it is a natural emotion. Anger leads to sin based on how we respond to it.
The good news is that God has given the Christian one of the greatest tools in combatting sinful anger. It is a necessary component of the Christian life. We know it from the book of Galatians, when the Apostle tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, PATIENCE…” We know it from 1 Corinthians 13, where again, we are challenged with the truth, “Love is PATIENT.” God has even given himself as an example. Peter told us, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
Where pride is gasoline to the fire of anger, patience is water. A patient man can become angry and remain pure. A prideful man can be angered and explode into sin words and deeds.
1 Samuel 25 describes a situation for us in which David is angered. No one could look at his circumstance and blame his anger. He showed kindness to a man named Nabal and his kindness was returned with meanness and selfishness. It isn’t that we should only be kind to people so that they will reciprocate that kindness, but a little gratitude is not too much to ask This angered David so much that he made a rash decision to punish this disrespect. David’s anger had turned into vengeance and sin.
Just as David was about to act on his rage, someone intervened and injected a little patience into David’s heart. Because of this, David learned the meaning of Deutereonomy 32:35, when God said, “Vengeance is mine, I will recompense.” Had David taken “justice” into his own hands, then he would have been guilty of bloodshed, but patience tempered David’s anger and put justice in the hands of an impartial Judge. This lesson of patience would benefit David for the rest of his life.
Patience is probably an area where we all struggle from time to time, but patience goes a long way to prevent our most powerful emotions from developing into sin. Someone once said that you should never pray for patience. The truth is that you should never have to. As a Christian, patience is a package deal. Instead of praying for God to give patience, you should pray that God would reveal to you the patience that is already at work within you. Everything about our lives can be more enriching and fulfilling if we’ll inject a little patience into everything we do.