(Designed for a father to read with his 12-year-old son)
A boy stirs up dissension; a man makes peace.
“A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.” ~ Proverbs 15:18
Solomon says, “It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife” (20:3). Now as God’s men, we’re not going to back down when we need to stand tall for the truth, but neither are we going to go around looking for a fight.
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Another problem with a quick temper is that it will drive you to do impulsive and destructive things. A man with an anger problem lashes out at others without thinking. As Solomon says, “A quick-tempered man does foolish things” (Prov. 14:7), and “a hot-tempered one commits many sins” (29:22).
And if you speak in anger without thinking, people will think less of you because you will have put your immaturity on display. “A quick-tempered man displays folly” (14:29). That is, he puts it out there where everybody can see it.
A man who does not know how to control his anger starts arguments everywhere he goes, but a man who knows how to restrain his own anger can be a calming influence when people around him are getting angrier and angrier and things are getting more and more intense.
This is how Solomon puts it: “A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel” (15:18).
You also should make a decision right now that you will not hang around with someone who has an anger problem. His influence might rub off on you, and if you are his friend, and you bail him out when his anger gets him in trouble, you’ll spend the rest of your friendship trying to save him from himself.
That’s why Solomon says, “If you rescue a (hot-tempered man), you will have to do it again” (19:19). He adds, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared” (22:24-25). Running with a guy who has a hair-trigger temper is a great way to get yourself into all kinds of trouble.
In contrast, a man of self-control can sow peace instead of discord. People who lived a long time ago knew that oil has a calming effect on the wave action of water as the oil spreads over the water’s surface. It’s where the expression to “pour oil on troubled waters” comes from. And it doesn’t take much oil to do the trick.
Benjamin Franklin once wrote about standing on the edge of a large pond which was being whipped into frothy waves by a strong wind. He poured in just one teaspoonful of oil, and there was an instant calm over several square yards of the pond, “which spread amazingly and extended itself gradually till it reached the lee side, making all that quarter of the pond, perhaps half an acre, as smooth as a looking glass.”
You can be that kind of calming influence on others, that kind of peacemaker, a man who knows how to control his temper. By learning to control yourself, you can create an atmosphere of peace and tranquility in your entire sphere of influence. Remember, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).
Remember, a boy sows dissension, but a man sows peace.
Father, I pray that you will produce in my son the fruit of the Spirit of self-control that his temper may never get the best of him. And I pray that you will use him to be a calming influence on others when they are angry and agitated. May he be a peacemaker who is known as your son. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Host of “Focal Point” on AFR Talk, 1-3pm CT, M-F
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