Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Friday, July 2 - Watch Your Temper

“An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins.” — Proverbs 29:22

To be honest, it was rather funny: The soccer coach on the sideline completely losing it over something that occurred on the field, then proceeding to kick a crate on the sideline in anger, only to get his foot caught in the crate and suddenly subject himself to a hilariously embarrassing moment. Hopping over to the bench, he had to sit down and untangle his shoe from the crate, all the while attempting to somehow save face over the situation.

While certainly humorous, there was also a great lesson to be learned from this little incident with the soccer coach. Anger and unchecked temper never really get you anywhere. Even though it is certainly a natural response to life and people’s unpredictability, losing it over circumstances that are usually out of your control only leads to words and actions you later regret.

As a player and a coach, it’s understandable why you can look at things and notice avoidable mistakes or mishaps. It’s obviously discouraging and frustrating when that happens. When you feel like you could’ve prevented something, it’s hard to deal with that feeling sometimes. But often, things said or done in a moment of anger or rage usually end up being things you’re not proud of, leading to apologies later on.

The Bible speaks extensively about reigning in your temper and watching that you don’t let your passions get to an uncontrollable point. Because, when they do, other people end up getting hurt and you end up feeling very badly about what happened. Calm, cooler heads are always the ones that are praised in Scripture, because God always blesses those who seek peace over those who unnecessarily stir up strife and provoke others.

Winning and perfection can sometimes become so important to you as a player, coach or even a parent, that anything less is taken personally as failure and a reflection on your personal pride. The anger and frustration can be evidence of where your priorities really are, and what’s truly important to you — not the enjoyment of the game, not the people you get to do it with, but rather your own unrealistic expectations both for yourself and those around you.

Not only does the Bible say that those who are slow to anger are wise (Proverbs 14:29) and diffuse contention (Proverbs 15:18), but it also encourages people of peace not to befriend someone given to consistent anger (Proverbs 22:24). Benjamin Franklin was correct when he wrote, “Anger is never without reason, but seldom with a good one.” If you are to build a winning life, you need to learn how to curb that temper and not let it get in the way of what really matters.

Allowing God’s grace to flow through you allows you to keep the big picture in mind: In the end, you won’t play or coach forever. But you will build memories forever. You’ll build relationships forever. You’ll create a reputation that lasts forever. How you want to be remembered and what you leave behind starts with how you handle yourself in all circumstances — both as an athlete or coach and as a follower of Jesus Christ.

— Katherine Singer

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