A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted.Proverbs 12:16 (NLT)
When I began college, I was sure I wanted to be an attorney. It is a noble profession, after all! Well, some of them are noble… I quickly switched majors during my sophomore year to history, but kept my interest in law and business, declaring a business minor. As such, I was required to take several classes on accounting, economics, personal law, business law, and, one of my favorites, argumentation. The last one is basically the art of debating. Probably one of the biggest lessons I took away from the course was something simple the professor used to say, “The first one to lose their cool loses the debate.” Why? Because once emotion begins to rule in the debate, it becomes less about facts and reason, and more about pummeling the opponent. Personal attacks begin and there are no winners anymore – just an ugly fight. In my opinion, there are a few billion people who need to take Professor Kinney’s class.
In our world today, an exchange of ideas based on thought, reason, and compassion is a very rare thing. Instead, conversations turn openly hostile over any perceived slight. And, to make matters worse, the news media doesn’t help. In fact, if you haven’t watched news programming in the past five years, consider yourself blessed. I would wager that close to 90 percent of all news coverage these days is about one person, or group, hating on another person or group. It’s not news. It’s like a daytime talk show which gets everyone riled up!
As Christians, we are called to be better than this. However, the unfortunate reality is that people that identify as Christian are some the of the biggest offenders. Arguments turn into fights with each group calling the others hypocrites, of heretics (people that spread lies about God), or scum. They call for the purging of the churches of those who disagree with them. It’s petty and ridiculous. It’s also ironic. The Jewish elite said the same thing about Jesus and His disciples. In fact, they called those people scum.
King Solomon had some wisdom to share in this area. He wrote, “A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted.” In other words, if you’re consistently losing your cool, trolling people on the Internet, writing anonymous letters to church leaders, and so on, then you are a fool. We need to be able to have conversations, not childish fights and temper tantrums. Be wise. Stay calm. Engage in conversation. Keep your cool.
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