P is for Patience - (meditation by Pam)
Hot tempers cause arguments, but patience brings peace.
I speak from experience--it doesn’t take long for a disagreement with someone who has a short fuse to spiral into an argument. Hot-tempered people tend to jump to conclusions, rush to have their say (and way), and don’t consider the consequences of their words or actions. It is hard to accept, much less understand when someone we love loses his/her cool at us over minor issues.
However, as God said through King Solomon, “Patience brings peace.” It is easy to react with an equally hasty and negative attitude, but as I have learned, this will only guarantee an argument. On the other hand, staying calm and constructive can prevent arguments from escalating and will actually serve as an example to the person.
Do you have a hot-tempered person in your life? Could you use a little help in dealing with them? Here are four more tips on keeping your cool:
WAIT AND PRAY. Individuals who get angry quickly usually cool down just as fast. So when an encounter heats up, we need to silently seek God’s leading while we wait for the person to calm down. We can avoid many unnecessary arguments by asking ourselves, “Would it really be best to verbally reciprocate? Will matching barb with barb accomplish anything?”
“If you are sensible, you will control your temper.
When someone wrongs you, it is a great virtue to ignore it.”
DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF. A short-tempered person gets bent out of shape over insignificant issues—following a slow driver or misplacing a book. The best way to deal with such behavior is not to react at all; remember, it takes two to make an argument. If we try reasoning with them we will only make the person angrier. Simply keep quiet and listen. Then ask questions to clarify the matter before replying.
“After all, even fools may be thought wise and intelligent
if they stay quiet and keep their mouths shut."
CALL FOR A TIME OUT. Very often a short-tempered person will go from aggravation over minor irritants to bigger issues that somehow end up being the other person’s fault. At such times, it is easy to get into an argument and only fair to defend ourselves. However, it is best to call for a time out, explaining that although we are willing to try to understand the person’s concerns, we both need to be in a calmer frame of mind to be able to do that.
“The start of an argument is like the first break in a dam;
stop it before it goes any further.”
DON’T ENABLE. While patience and restraint are important in dealing with a short-tempered person, we also need to draw the line somewhere. Increasing episodes of shouting, breaking things or threats are unacceptable and leave us feeling hurt, confused and even unsafe. If we excuse these bad behaviors the person will repeat them. To stop them we have to let the person know that their behavior has hurt us and, in order for things to work out between us, they must learn to keep their tongues and actions under control.
“You have done all this, and I have said nothing,
so you thought that I am like you.
But now I reprimand you
and make the matter plain to you.”
Though these suggestions appear simple, they are not easy to implement; they depend on the intervention of the Holy Spirit. Thank God for the power of prayer!
Reflection on Proverb by Pam Williams, member of 1st Writes. Her blog is 2 Encourage.