S74P5 – When fools rush in: tempers flare

Pro. 12:16

A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted.

Today I am not the kind of person who flies off the handle about anything.  Sure I have my share of frustrations, but those instances of getting fired up are probably relatively calm compared to most.  Before meeting Jesus, I was always ready to be offended.  Lifelong insecurities drove me to think that every negative thing I heard around me must be about me.  I assumed that anyone chuckling behind me in line at the store was chuckling at me.  Whenever someone said something which I could take the wrong way I was certain to take it that way, go on the offensive and attack them in return.  I thought being ready for this kind of battle at all times was a kind of strength, but it was just foolishness in disguise.

The thing about offense is that it traps us instead of serving some productive purpose.  Sometimes our offenses are completely unfounded, and other times we would say that we are completely justified for feeling that way.  Regardless, we are expected to be just as deliberate in the former as in the latter.  Jesus never fought any offensive word or act levied against him by being offended and lashing out.  He had the wisdom to carry his confidence and security from the Father as his guard against offense in this world.  That wisdom made him able to respond with truth and understanding instead of reacting with wrath.  When someone else starts a fire directed at us, we would be wise to put that fire out instead of acting in a way to make it grow.

I think by now it is clear that wisdom requires that we take our time. This is all about stopping and thinking about what is happening, looking at things in the proper spiritual context, and then discerning the proper spiritual response.  A common thread we see in biblical instruction against foolishness is the need to slow things down and think.  Personal offense is one area in particular in which people often feel the need to take an immediate stance and defend themselves, but responding like Jesus means not being rash.  In fact, it means not being offended at all. That is the truly wise response.  Father, give us wisdom to be humble and unoffendable, that we would respond to what others would see as offense with understanding and truth.