Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. (Proverbs 14:29)
Wisdom leads us to speak less and listen more, and to react slowly to what we hear. We must not be too quick to react to one another, especially in anger. First, by our measured response, we will honor God and bless our neighbor with our patience. Second, we will learn far more that way. Listening to others, even when we disagree or feel threatened, and then taking that to God in prayer breeds humility in our spirits, and it makes us a teachable vessel whom God will gladly fill with knowledge and wisdom.
On the flip side, responding angrily, lashing out, or rushing forward impatiently (even if only in our hearts) cements us in the foolish certainty that we are right and others have little to offer us. Plus, that makes it extremely hard to learn anything from the other person. Make a habit of that kind of thinking, and we’ll end up trapped by it, mired in the “folly” Solomon spends so much time warning us about, and turning people off in the process.
In your next conversation about something you care deeply about or have a lot of strong feelings about, ask God to help you achieve the following three things, then discipline yourself to do them:
- Not to think about what to say next until the other person is done speaking
- Never to interrupt the other speaker
- Pause for a full second each time you intend to speak
An amplified proverb (see more in series)