Mad Hatter

“A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention.”—Proverbs 15:18 (NKJV)
Okay, moment of transparency: My wife and I have been married almost four years, and in that time, I seemed to have earn myself a label. My wife jokingly calls me “contentious.” Can you believe it? Of all things she could call me, she chooses contentious! If I was to be even more candid, I can give her the benefit of the doubt and say that I probably warrant that title to a degree. Although I’m not proud of it, I do believe that there’s a side of me that can be a little quick-witted. It’s possible that my responses to certain things aren’t always as gracious as they should be.
The Bible says that it’s better to be quick to hear and slow to speak. I recall having a conversation with a student in my office regarding his contentious behavior with his parents. Yes, you read correctly, a student actually admitted to being argumentative towards his parents! When I asked him why he thought he’d adopted such behavior, he expressed that he felt angry inside. I love how this young student was able to be so candor, and I believe we could all learn a valuable lesson from him.
If we allow anger or bitterness to settle in our hearts, it’ll eventually come to the surface. The consequence of this is that innocent people become collateral damage. The best way to avoid this is by asking Christ to search our hearts and show us if there’s anything that may be causing us to sin against others, and more importantly against God.
Once we allow Christ to perform the surgery in our hearts, He’ll free us of the bitterness brewing inside. Is this an easy process? Rarely. Is it a quick process? Not usually. But ultimately, when we give our contentiousness over to Christ, we become free of it!
Now, I don’t profess to be a professional when it comes to this stuff, but I can tell you from firsthand experience that the volcanic eruption, which is the result of stored up bitterness and anger in your heart, is not pretty.  And like a volcanic eruption, it destroys everything around you, even innocent bystanders. This is not fair to you, it’s not fair to those that love you, and it’s certainly not fair to Christ.
Jesus gave His life so that we might cast our burdens, even anger or bitterness over to Him so that we could experience a life of joy, peace, love, kindness, goodness, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control . . . not contentiousness!
Dig: Read Proverbs 15:1, James 1:19, Psalm 139:23-24, Galatians 5:22.
Discover: Might there be some anger or bitterness dormant in your heart toward someone or something?
Display: If you discover there indeed is bitterness or stored up anger in you, turn it over to God. Ask Him to forgive you if you’ve allowed yourself to become contentious as a result of your anger or bitterness. Walk in the fruit of the Spirit.

About the Author

Darren Bennett