Monday, March 25, 2013

The Blessings of an Even Temper

The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression. 
–Proverbs 19:11 (NKJV)

Several years ago one of my sons was involved with little league baseball and I became acquainted with a man whose son also played on the team.  Many times I arrived for a game either coming from a church responsibility or on my way to one.  This meant I was often wearing a dress shirt and tie, which is not typical dress for a baseball game.  The man I spoke of would often see me dressed this way and address me as “Dapper Dan.” It went something like this, “Well, hey there, Dapper Dan.” I suppose some men might have grown weary of this, but I always took it good naturedly.  I never asked, but I just thought it was a lighthearted commentary on my choice of clothing. 

The word dapper is an old English expression for neat, trim, and smart; a man who wears nice and stylish clothing which fits well.  I began to take my new nickname as a compliment.  What’s funny is how I sometimes wore casual clothing, like jeans and a t-shirt, but the man wouldn’t be at the game.  Then, the next time I happened to be there, dressed to the nines, he would of course show up.  I began to wonder if the man realized I didn’t always dress like a New York lawyer.  Both our sons have grown beyond the little league baseball years and are now in college, and whenever I see this man, you guessed it; he still calls me Dapper Dan. 

The Word of God says in Proverbs 19:11 that a man of discretion is slow to anger and a wise man overlooks an insult.  It is to a man’s glory, or it demonstrates his integrity, to not allow a perceived insult to bother him.  How often have we allowed a perceived insult or slight to get under our skin?  Many times we let something bother us when in reality it was not worth getting upset over.  I have heard all my life the expression about people wearing their feelings on their sleeves.  This is a hard way to go through life, because such persons are always looking for an offense in any situation.  As a result, they become offended over situations where no offense was ever intended.

As I reflect on the man who had his nickname for me, I realize that no one else has ever called me this.  He and I became friends and he is actually a very kind and good natured person.  I believe he honestly never intended to offend me. If I had allowed myself to be offended, I would have missed out on becoming friends with a goodhearted and decent man.  When we walk by faith and in the power of Christ, we are at peace and the joy of the Lord resides in our hearts.

We also realize life is too short to spend it upset and irritated over matters which have little bearing on the greater issues of life.  As I have said before, relax, lighten up, and be at peace in Jesus.

God bless you today.