Tempering Your Temper

Monday, September 18, 2023

[Love] is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Cor. 13:5, NIV.

Although the conclusion that love "is not easily angered" is the heart of the apostle Paul's analysis of love, we tend to look upon bad temper as a harmless weakness. We speak of it as a mere infirmity of nature, a family failing, or merely a matter of temperament, not something to take into serious account in estimating a person's character. Explosions of anger are common, but does its common nature make it acceptable?

No! The Bible condemns bad temper as one of the most destructive elements in human nature. Just look at Proverbs 27:4: "Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous."

We've seen the destructive effects of anger in the lives of those who come to our live-in drug alternative program. For example, Joe spent three months with us trying to keep clean, but in the end it was not the drugs that killed him—it was his anger. If he didn't get his way, or if something didn't please him, look out! One day he left our program in a huff, caught a bus to Arizona, and had a confrontation with a man in a bar, and the man stabbed him. He bled to death before help could arrive.

No form of vice, worldliness, greed, or drunkenness does more to degrade society than an evil temper. It embitters life, shatters communities, destroys the most sacred relationships, devastates homes, withers men and women, and takes the bloom off childhood.

But it is not enough to deal with just the temper itself. We must go to the source and change the inmost nature, and the angry symptoms will simply die away. Souls are made sweet not by taking the acid out but by putting something in—a great love, a new spirit, the spirit of Christ. The Holy Spirit penetrating our nature will sweeten and purify us. Only He can eradicate what is wrong by renovating, regenerating, and rehabilitating the inner person.

Willpower does not change a person. Nor does time. Only Christ does! "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5).

A good temper will improve your health and make you a better witness for Jesus. Won't you invite Christ into your heart today to heal your temper?

Used by permission of Health Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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