Before You Retaliate, Calculate the Cost
By Rick Warren
“People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness” (Proverbs 14:29 NLT, second edition).
If you calculate the cost of anger, you’re less likely to get angry when somebody’s pushing your buttons.
The Bible is very specific about uncontrolled anger:
- “An angry person causes trouble; a person with a quick temper sins a lot” (Proverbs 29:22 NCV).
- “Hot tempers cause arguments” (Proverbs 15:18a TEV).
- "A hot temper shows great foolishness” (Proverbs 14:29b NLT, second edition).
When you get angry, there is a cost: You’re going to get in trouble. You’re going to sin. You’re going to cause arguments. You’re going to make mistakes.
When you lose your temper, you always lose, whether it’s respect, the love of your family, your health, or even your job.
Maybe you use anger to motivate people to do the right thing. Don’t do it! In the short run, you may get the short-term payoff. But in the long run, anger always produces more anger, more apathy, and more alienation.
How many kids have become alienated from their dads or their moms because of out-of-control anger? How many people have been alienated from a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a husband, a wife, or a friend because somebody lost his or her cool? Anger destroys relationships faster than anything else.
So when someone starts pushing your buttons, before you retaliate, ask yourself, “Do I really want to push back? Do I want to cause a needless argument? Do I want to act foolish and fly off the handle?”
Proverbs 14:29 says, “People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.”
Instead of retaliating when someone pushes your buttons, trust that God will help you control your anger. He’s right there with you, helping you to let go of your anger.
Talk It Over
- What methods do you use to keep your cool when someone gets angry with you or attacks you?
- How might anger have cost you in your relationships?
- Instead of using anger and intimidation, what is a better way to lead people?
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This devotional © 2016 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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