In the final weeks of this semester, it’s all too easy to lose one’s temper on a regular basis. As deadlines approach, the seemingly infinite distractions and anxieties all begin to pile up. Some of us have packed our schedules to the point there’s no time to sleep or even make a sandwich. This often leads to stress and getting frustrated with others.
In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul says that despite our tendencies to become short on nerves we are to “clothe [ourselves] with the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14, NIV). As Christians, college isn’t just a place to obtain a higher education to prepare us for a line of work. College is a place where the Lord provides a wealth of opportunities for each of us to exercise our faith. We gain more ground in this spiritual war when we put the Lord Jesus Christ on ourselves and let Him govern our thoughts, words, and actions.
Next time you get annoyed, don’t immediately lay on the horn. Stop and consider: “Am I guilty of the very same thing this person is doing that’s annoying me?” All too often, the answer is yes. I recently heard an interesting saying to the effect of: “If you run into a jerk first thing in the morning, then you just ran into a jerk first thing in the morning. But if you keep running into jerks, all day, you’re the jerk.”
Someone else’s shortcomings do not give you permission to treat them poorly. The manner in which you treat others in life is just as important as what you set out to accomplish in life. God’s plan for our lives is not to railroad other people when they fall short of our expectations. As Christians, we should aim to glorify the Lord rather than gratify our own feelings.
Losing our temper can have irreversible consequences and potentially break the heart. I know this from experience. The writer of James doesn’t tell us the tongue is “a fire, a world of evil” for nothing (James 3:6, NIV). One of the worst living agonies is remembering back to a moment you had the opportunity to make the right decision and instead made the worst one you could have made.
Another agony is making the worst decision you could have made because of an anxiety that you – not someone else – are responsible for bringing upon yourself. Whether in situations either trying or easeful, our aim ought to be to live meekly yet boldly in the Spirit, seeking to gently “restore that person” lest we “may also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1, NIV).
Paul wrote to the Ephesians and told them, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29, NIV). No matter how testing the situation may be and no matter the honest shortcoming of another, speak to others always as though they are souls bound for eternity either with or separated from God – because they are!