A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.
Have you ever witnessed or been the victim of road rage? (I won’t ask if you’ve been tempted or actively participated – that would get far too personal!)
I was riding on a city bus a couple of years ago when the bus driver got cut off by a black pick-up. Our driver raced after the vehicle, ignoring people at the next bus stop and the calls from others who wanted to get off. He finally caught up to the vehicle at a traffic light and clipped the truck’s rear-view mirror. That’s when the fight started, the police were called, we gave statements, and I spent the better part of an hour waiting until another bus came to take the place of the grounded driver. It was a foolish thing to do, especially with a bus full of witnesses that were already at the end of their patience.
I was among those who condemned the bus driver for his irrational behaviour and for giving in to his temper. Yet I wonder how many people have thought of doing the same, but held back because they didn’t want to dent their vehicle. I know that I’ve had times when I’ve given in to my anger, and immediately wished I could take back my actions.
Patience is a virtue seldom exercised on the road of life, yet it is a part of the Fruit of the Spirit and part of what the wise and discerning person displays. I don’t think it’s something that comes naturally to me, and once again it’s an area where I need the Spirit’s direction and control.
Proverbs 13:33 adds that “wisdom reposes in the heart of the discerning and even among fools she lets herself be known.” To repose is to rest, even when everything tells us to strike back with words or anger. To rest is to trust in God, despite the circumstances of actions of others. It’s being controlled by a power that is able to hold us back when it is wise to do so.