Bible Society of South Africa

Goals and resolutions: Watch your temper – 11 February 2022

By Charlea Sieberhagen-Grey

Bible text(s)

29If you stay calm, you are wise, but if you have a hot temper, you only show how stupid you are.

Proverbs 14:29GNBOpen in Bible reader

In December last year, the actor and prankster, Leon Schuster, said for the umpteenth time that he would not easily consider making a film again in which he plays pranks on strangers using a hidden camera to film the scene.

“I do not want to be slapped any longer. I do not want to be shot. It is a dangerous country …” he mentioned to a Sunday newspaper. In 2015, he said similar things during an interview with a Cape daily: “But these days, you just look at people or invade someone’s space and immediately, without thinking twice, people get annoyed and angry so quickly that it has become a dangerous business.”

Whether you enjoy his films or not, is not the point here. But if there is someone who has seen how the citizens of South Africa’s short fuses have become even shorter over the years, it is Leon Schuster.

And, in a way, it is totally understandable. We live in a country that has many challenges. It is difficult not to become angry when you are constantly confronted by poor service delivery, mismanagement, abuse of power and crime. And one must get angry about these kinds of things, because wrong remains wrong, and if we do not get angry, nobody will ever be compelled to bring about change.

Now why does the Bible remind us not to get angry quickly? Galatians 5:22, (EBD) pertinently mentions: “But when the Holy Spirit lives in people and rules over them, then their lives change: They love other people, they are pleased with them, they make peace, they are patient, they are friendly and good, they do what they promise …”

It is described as gentleness in the New International Version – what a beautiful word.

And I believe that it is about trying to be gentle every day when you are dealing with other people. My husband sent me an image with a moving message the other day: “Today you could be standing next to someone who is trying their best not to fall apart. Whatever jou do today, do it with kindness in your heart.”

Despite all the unfairness and bad things that often happen around us, it remains such an important truth to remember. Around us, at work, at church, in the malls, even in the traffic, there are many people who have to overcome difficult circumstances and challenges. We do not know everyone’s stories or circumstances. Everyone is trying to keep head above water in his/her own way. Perhaps, it is not such a bad idea to count to 10 or 20 or even 30 before one reacts this year.

Prayer: Dear God, although there are a number of things that make us so incredibly angry, help me not to project my anger onto those around me. Help me to be gentle and to treat others with compassion so that my conduct can testify to your love. Amen

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