Proverbs 14:17 tells us that a quick-tempered man does foolish things, but in verse 29 it says that a patient man has great understanding. I have been told through the years that when someone is quick-tempered, we should always take that into consideration during their moments of anger. Being quick-tempered does not give you a free pass with your words, nor does it change others’ judgment of you. Jesus said, “By your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:37). He did not add the phrase, “unless you are quick-tempered.” I’ve actually had people tell me, “I was angry when I said that, so that doesn’t count.” That statement is not the truth; it is deception.
The Bible has a lot to say about hot-tempered people and none of it is good. Many marriages, families, and churches have been divided and destroyed because of the words of a quick-tempered person. A quick-tempered person reading this might say, “But I just can’t help myself. It’s just the way I am.” Again, more deception!
The truth is there is no excuse for being hot-tempered and the Bible says in many places that we should refrain from anger and that we should turn away from wrath (see Psalm 37:8, for instance). We are told in Proverbs 12:16 that a person who immediately expresses their annoyance at something is a fool, but that a prudent man overlooks an insult. Again, Proverbs 14:16 (NIV) tells us that a fool is hotheaded, and the next verse says that a quick-tempered man does foolish things.
It’s also interesting that the Bible warns us about the result of quick, harsh words. In Proverbs 15, it tells us that these words stir up anger and dissension. One of the most respected people in Bible times was a warrior, a soldier, who could conquer the enemy. But in Proverbs 16:32 we are told that a man who controls his temper and who is patient is greater than a warrior who takes a city. Proverbs goes on to say that a man who uses restraint with his words is a man of knowledge and only an even-tempered man has true understanding (Proverbs 17:27).
In Proverbs chapter twenty, it says that a man who avoids strife should be honored because it’s only a fool that is quick to quarrel (vs. 3). Not only is self-control one of the nine parts of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23), but the Bible tells us that a man who lacks self-control is like a city with broken down walls (Proverbs 25:28). In other words, the enemy cannot be stopped from invading and plundering his house.
There are many instances in the Bible where it gives descriptions of a fool and a wise man, and it shows the differences between them. But the difference is no clearer anywhere than Proverbs 29:11 where it says, “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control” (NIV).
When writing to the church at Ephesus, the apostle Paul said, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths” (Ephesians 4:29 NIV). He went on to say we should get rid of rage and anger and that we should be kind and compassionate. Otherwise, it will grieve the Holy Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30-32).
Anger is a by-product of fear. Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). God has empowered us with His grace to soar above the works of the flesh and as we develop our walk of love, fits of anger and rage will fade away.