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“He who is slow to anger

 

has great understanding,

 

But he who is quick-tempered

 

exalts folly.”

 

Proverbs 14:29

 

In our reading this morning from the One Year Bible, we read Proverbs 14:29, “He who is slow to anger has great understanding, But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.”

I love this image used in this verse. The word for “slow to anger” can mean “long breath.” The word for “quick tempered” can mean “short breath.” Have you ever noticed that when you get angry your breathing gets more shallow and more rapid? It happens to almost everyone. It’s called the fight or flight reponse. It happens when we feel threatened. The problem is that when we feel threatened, the thinking part of our brain gets by-passed and we tend to react according to our more natural, visceral, instinctual part of our brain. I don’t know about you, but that is not always the best part of me. In fact, it’s not the best part of any of us. That’s frequently the area of our lives that we have not allowed Jesus to redeem, yet.

But there is hope! We can “breath long.” I love it when psychology finally catches up with the 3000 year old biblical wisdom. Deep breathing is a technique that I frequently taught my clients as a psycholotherapist who were dealing with anger and anxiety. Breathing deeply allows us to calm down and to “come to our senses.” When we take the time to breath, Proverbs tells us that we can come to a greater understanding of source of our anger and of our response. And, as a result of this greater understanding, we can respond more skillfully.

However, if we operate out of that “short breath,” then we are bound to act like a fool. And we understand how Proverbs refers to fools, we understand that a fool is described in most unsavory terms (see Proverbs 1:7, 22; 12:15; 13:20; 14:9). Worst of all is Psalm 14:1, “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”

So, today, when you find yourself angry. Take a deep breath. Then another, Then another.  Learn from your anger, rather than being controlled by it. Breath in the Spirit of God who will transform you into the image of His Son, Jesus.

 

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WadeArnold

Husband. Father. Pastor. Psychologist. I am passionate about leadership and discipleship.

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