Controlling my temper!

“A quick-tempered person does foolish things, …” Proverbs 14:17a

I could write a book on all the stupid things I have done because I lost my temper. Growing up as the oldest of 6 boys, competition was a way of life. Competition requires intensity and intensity produces high-strung emotions. It was those emotions that, quite often, unleashed my temper and before I knew it, I had punched a hole in the wall, hit someone or just made a fool out of myself  by running my big mouth. Quite often I said things that were extremely hurtful to someone only to regret what I said just a few minutes later. The problem … once you say it, you can’t take it back.

Some of you actually had a smile on your face as you read about me punching holes in the wall. As a matter of fact, many of you are thinking about the hole in your wall right now!!!

The truth is, most of us at some point, lose our temper. It is a part of our human nature. However, some of us battle with it more than others. The book of Proverbs teaches, if we do not learn how to control our temper, it will destroy our life.

Here are 4 simple pieces of advice from Proverbs to help us control our temper:

1. Fear the Lord – we must care more about what God thinks than what others think or how we feel at the time.

The Fear of the Lord:

Keeps me from evil

Keeps me safe

Keeps me from ruining my life

“Whoever fears the Lord walks uprightly, but those who despise him are devious in their ways.” – Proverbs 14:2

“The wise fear the Lord and shun evil, but a fool is hotheaded and yet feels secure.” – Proverbs 14:16

“Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death” – Proverbs 14:26-27

“The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” – Proverbs 19:23

2. Follow the right peer group – Peer-pressure is real and can be a good thing when the companions that influence us the most are the ones who do the right thing.

“Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips.” – Proverbs 14:7

“Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.” – Proverbs 22:24-25

3. Focus on actions not feelings – When we respond to our immediate feelings we often say or do things we regret. Focus on the possible consequences of what you are about to say or do rather than the immediate relief you think you will have. Some of these consequences, you will not be able to reverse.

“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, …” – Proverbs 14:8a

“The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps.” – Proverbs 14:15

“An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins. – Proverbs 29:22

4. “Four Count” – One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given was “Count to 4 to help you ignore.” When you start to get angry and your temper is about to boil over, count to 4 before you do anything. This gives our emotions time to calm and allows us time to think about the consequences of what we are about to do next. Unfortunately I don’t always practice that advice, but when I do, it does work.

“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick tempered displays folly. A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” – Proverbs 14:29-30

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.” – Proverbs 15:1-2

“A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.” – Proverbs 15:18

I wish I could say that I have mastered the art of controlling my temper but unfortunately this is a life long endeavor. However, by trying to practice these four simple principles, we can at least get better at it. Life is so much better when we don’t make a fool of ourselves by losing our temper!