I sure can see the problems caused by other people’s hair-trigger tempers. One of the members of our church council went off on me once for no good reason. It took a huge investment of energy, patience, love, and time to restore the relationship. What I’m not so sure about is whether the people around me think I’m touchy. Touchy? Moi?
“Love is . . . not easily angered,” says St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4,5. It sure isn’t. The real question is whether or not you and I are easily angered. Why do we do that? Because anger is fun in a way, at least at first. The adrenaline rush makes us feel really alive. Because we feel indignant and righteous and have to teach other people a lesson not to mess with us. Because we all secretly long to be wild and free, letting out the beast within. It is hard work to show restraint when upset. Because emotional outbursts are a way of controlling a situation, knocking others off-balance and maybe even intimidating them into trying to soothe and placate you by giving you what you want.
Scripture teaches us that our anger does not bring about the righteous life that God requires. Rather than revealing what’s wrong with other people, our outbursts usually show the weaknesses in us—insecurity, self-absorption, and a bitter spirit. God’s patient love for us inspires us to seek to understand others rather than rush to judgment.
Assume the best in others’ hearts instead of leaping to conclude the worst.