Our Reactions and Our Heart

He who is slow to wrath has great understanding,
But he who is impulsive exalts folly. Prov. 14:29

[Warning: Talking about this passage with your family is guaranteed to provide accountability for you, dad!]

What is one very simple way to know if you are growing spiritually? Keep track of how often you are reacting angrily.

Our spur-of-the-moment reactions provide a simple, straightforward spiritual guage for each one of us. Dads, we know what it is like to get cut off on the road and react angrily, only a second later to realize that the little eyes are wide open in the back seat looking at you (or am I the only one this happens too?). Moms, how about when the kid dumps the legos out for the third time? Kids, how do you react when your classmate gets the last ________ that you wanted?

The key element in our reactions is not the circumstance that brings it about. These vary and are as many as the proverbial sands on the seashore. The key element is whether we give thought to the circumstance before reacting or if we are impulsive.

Too often, we have an impulsive, angry response. Sometimes we call it frustration, sometimes we blame it on our personality, but all times we really know it is because, at that moment, we are not understanding that whatever is happening is controlled by God.

In our reactions, we have the immediate choice to exalt God or exalt folly. If we have understanding, we exalt God by being slow to anger. If we lack understanding, we are impulsive and exalt folly.


1. Name a circumstance recently where you responded with folly or anger. Name a time you remember when dad responded this way. Mom. Brother, etc.

2. How would you have responded had you taken some time to think about and understand the circumstance? How should dad, mom, etc. have responded to their situation?


2 Responses to “Our Reactions and Our Heart”

  1. 1 Paul Sherf
    October 17, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    I’ve dealt with losing my temper before and from time to time try to look into myself to understand why I respond in anger to various situations. However, I don’t think I’ve ever looked at it from this perspective before. I don’t question God’s sovereignty in thought or from an academic point of view, but in practice I can see how my actions demonstrate this very thing. I’m going to discuss this with my family and it will be interesting to hear responses to the questions being raised.

    – Angry in Allen Park 😉

  2. October 17, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    Dear Angry,
    I only get angry when things don’t go my way. 🙂 They always go God’s way–that is what I have to keep in mind!

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