Saturday, October 9, 2010

Calm, Cool, and in Control

An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins. A man's pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.  –Proverbs 29:22, 23 

Several years ago I found myself in a painful phone conversation with an irate woman.  She was upset over an incident that occurred between my son and hers, the details of which I will not delve into here.  Suffice to say that my son could hear her yelling at me through my end of the phone.  I calmly told her that I was sure the matter could be resolved if we could only discuss the situation like rational adults.  Sadly, I was not able to calm her down and she finally ran out of steam and hung up.  My son then asked me, “Dad, why didn’t you tell her off after the hateful way she talked to you?” “Well,” I explained, “what she needs is the love of Jesus Christ.  What better way to demonstrate that love than through patience, compassion, and grace?” 

Fast forward to a few months ago to another conversation; this discussion was between my son and another friend’s mother – not to be confused with the one who had bawled me out several years ago.  Somehow they got on the topic of self-control.  My son informed this lady that no one can make his dad lose his cool. The lady scoffed at this and jokingly said that she was certain that someone could get me to lose my temper.  “No,” he replied, “not my dad; you could not get him to blow his top; he’s always cool and in control.”  

When my son relayed this discussion to me I realized that he had paid me just about the highest compliment I have ever received.  For the record, I have lost my temper before and blown all my circuits, but to my son I am apparently a shining example of calm and cool under pressure.  Wow; I am still smiling over that one.

The Scripture reminds us that self-control is a valuable discipline.  Jesus commanded us to love one another, for “all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:35).  Uncontrolled anger will ever be a hindrance to the love of Jesus that is meant to shine through our lives.  I know this is a challenge, as human nature leads us to want to rise to our full height and let someone have it when we are threatened in some way.  However, as followers of Christ we are called to follow Jesus’ example of humility at all times and in all situations.    

Have you lost your temper lately?  Pray, daily study God's Word, and specifically ask the Lord for strength in this area.  Pray that you will have more of Jesus Christ working in your life – all facets of it.   

God is faithful and will always honor such a sincere prayer.  That self-control you desire will come to be. 

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