Thursday Morning Devotion (Making Stupidity Look Good)

One who is slow to anger is very intelligent,
But a short tempered person makes stupidity look good. — Proverbs 14:29 (HN)

While I was thinking about this devotional this morning I looked at a couple of things on the internet. Now those of you who don’t blog may not understand this, but perhaps you can compare it to a slow conversation. I had written a blog entry yesterday that responded to something another blogger said that I thought was wrong. This morning, I saw what appeared to be his reaction, and it was quite insulting. A comment on his opponents had been combined with an article on loving the word, with the implication that those of us who didn’t agree with this man doctrinally loved God’s word less than he did.

My initial reaction was to jump on him. Yes, we disagree with some vigor. Yes, we write strongly about it. But the implication was unnecessarily insulting. Queue the “righteous anger” sound track now!

Fortunately, I didn’t follow my initial inclinations. It turns out that the two parts were put together by an error in the code on his site, and this was not intentional. I was able to discover this by looking around. I wish him well in getting the error fixed.

It’s easy to get provoked by the smallest things at church, at home, in the workplace, on the road, or wherever we find ourselves. Once tempers have flared, it’s hard to take things back. You fail to take account of all the reasonable explanations for someone else’s behavior, and immediately assume the worst. Very likely you’ll let an insult fly in return, and once that happens, it will be hard to rewind things back to the original incident which might have been quite innocent, yet was misunderstood.

Or it might have been a real incident, a real insult. Even so it’s good to take the time to measure what has happened and decide what is the best response. I don’t know about you, but I know that my initial reaction to someone who is annoying me is not my best choice. I rarely think immediately, “I need to let this situation cool down. Let’s wait for some wisdom from God.” I should, but I don’t.

This is a case when you should make a universal decision, a principle you’re going to follow in every case. When you feel anger coming on at something someone has said or done, determine that you are going to take time to consider it before you react. You might even have to end the conversation politely and then return to the issue. But get control of your temper first.

Much of the time you’ll find that there is no need to do anything after that. If you let the words or deeds go by, there is no problem. Sometimes something wrong has to be dealt with. It may be your children who have provoked you, and discipline is required. Wait until you are certain that any action you take in discipline will be designed to guide and train, rather than to provide you with vengeance.

It’s a good way to look very, very intelligent without needing to acquire one more point of IQ. Just take a little bit of time before you let out your angry retort.

Don’t make stupidity look good!

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