Although I was trying not to pay attention to the TVs in the gym while I was working out, I couldn’t help but notice some scenes from the Bruce Willis movie, the only non-sport choice running that day. The closed caption option for the programs was turned on and I was able to understand a bit of the movie. The scene that got me thinking was an exchange where the villain chided the hero for losing his temper during a phone call.
My temper has gotten the best of me more times that I care to admit. Sometimes I’ve excused it, explaining it as being passionate about the topic at hand. But when you pause and think about it, losing one’s temper is basically getting frustrated at the inability to control a situation, to communicate our point of view so that another can understand it, or to have the events unfold the way we want them. It harkens back to the temptation of the serpent to Eve, if she ate the fruit, she would be like a god. Who doesn’t want to be able to know and control events and situations? The only thing we have control over, is our reaction, and even then it is a struggle.
We may wonder why God allows these occurrences to happen, especially if they will tempt us to react in a way that causes us to sin. But as long as there is free will, people will be able to make choices that affect us in ways that provoke our temper. These are valuable opportunities to learn what triggers our buttons, so that when we realize we are starting to build up steam, we can ask God for guidance and help. After all, He is the one in control. He may ask us to be humble and open in the situation. Other times He may ask us to be gentle and merciful in our correction of another. In all our responses, we need to express the love that God has shown us.
Some situations may be easier than others, but God is giving us a lifetime of opportunities to practice, along with His grace and mercy when we fail to hold our temper. Just because we get it wrong sometimes, is not a reason to give up, just a reason to try harder next time.