You can easily spot them as you travel down the highway of life — those individuals who are given to hot-tempers and outbursts of anger. They are among the most careless people on life’s highway. They drive and maneuver their dented lives without regard to others. They bear the corrosive marks of bitterness. Their windshields are cracked and filthy. Their mirrors are improperly adjusted because they never look back to consider where they have been or what they have done. Their noisy mufflers signal their approach and their suffocating exhaust let you know they have arrived. They never park between the lines and they never put a dime in the meter. They travel life’s highway on their own terms and dare anybody to challenge them.
The book of Proverbs offers some keen insight into the character of hot-tempered individuals and practical advice on how to deal with them. It would behoove every person traveling down life’s highway to learn the following defensive driving techniques.
First, don’t bail hot-tempered people out of their troubles. Hot-tempered individuals are constantly getting stopped and fined along the highway of life. Proverbs 19:19 warns, “A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.” Unless hot-tempered individuals change their ways, they will always need to be bailed out. So, do not use your hard-earned cash to bail out reckless and hot-tempered individuals.
Second, don’t travel down life’s highway with hot-tempered individuals. Proverbs 22:24-25 warns, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.” The Bible clearly warns of the danger of traveling with the wrong kind of people lest we pick up their sloppy and dangerous habits and end up at the wrong destination. That’s why Proverbs advices that it’s best to give a cold shoulder to a hot head lest we end up wrecking our own lives.
Third, take a detour around road hazards caused by hot-tempered people. Hot-tempered individuals are always stirring up trouble along life’s highway. Proverbs 29:22 cautions, “An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.” And Proverbs 15:18 states, “A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.” Hot-tempered individuals create the kinds of hazards that can seriously injure others. So, when you see a hot-tempered individual causing trouble ahead, take a detour and heed the warnings of Proverbs — keep a cool head and you’ll stay out of hot water.
Written August 1994