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Summary: We live in an age when people are easily provoked toward anger or fear. However, the Bible teaches us: "A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense." Here are ten guidelines to help us avoid over reacting to irritations.

Avoiding Over Reactions to Situations (Proverbs 19:11)

We live in an age when people are easily provoked toward anger or fear. However, the Bible teaches us: "A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense." Here are ten guidelines to help us avoid over reacting to irritations." (Proverbs 19:11)

"Love overlooks a fault." (I Cor 13:4-7)

We all have a tendency to over react when provoked. However, no temptation that has taken you will not also be given with a way of escape so you can bear up under any irritating temptation. (I Cor. 10:13)

Perhaps this is may be one of the reasons that James wrote, "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." (James 1:19)

Illustration: IRRITATION

Imagine all of the obstacles a person might have to overcome if he were to walk from New York City to San Francisco. One man who accomplished this rare achievement mentioned a rather surprising difficulty when asked to tell of his biggest hurdle. He said that the toughest part of the trip wasn’t traversing the steep slopes of the mountains or crossing hot, dry, barren stretches of desert. Instead, he said, "The thing that came the closest to defeating me was the sand in my shoes."

C. Swindoll, Growing Strong, p. 163.

Only when our mind, will and emotions are under the control of the Spirit of God can we accomplish His perfect will. In our fast paced world there are many temptations to respond quickly without weighing our words. However, the following principles can help prevent many problems caused by uncontrolled over reactions.

1. CHOOSE YOUR WORDS carefully before you react. Solomon wrote, "A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered." (Proverbs 27:17) Practicing the discipline of restraint is especially important in our conversations.

Illustration: David practiced restraint when he was cursed by Shimei in 2 Sam 16:5-14:

"So David and his men continued along the road while Shimei... cursing as he went along and throwing stones at him and showering him with dirt."

Yet David said, "It may be that the Lord will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today." (2 Sam 16:12)

Application: Let us ask God for a greater ability to look beyond those who oppose us and fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, not minding the shame and is now set down on the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such sufferings of sinners against Himself lest you be weary and faint in your minds. For you have not resisted to the point of shedding of blood in your striving against sin." (Heb. 12:2-4)

Sometimes God permits provocations for His greater good, even though it might mean hurt, tears and feelings of anger. Remember that we are in God’s hands and nothing comes to us unless He allows it to happen.

"Vengeance is mine says the Lord, I will repay." (Rom. 12:19) Allow God to repay those who are irritating you in the proper time and in the best way for His greater purposes.

2. CHOOSE YOUR COMPANIONS carefully before you react out of bad peer pressure. The first Psalm writer wrote, "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord." (Psa. 1:1,2) It is too easy to conform to the negative pressures of carnal friends who can influence one to become cynical.

3. CHOOSE WHAT YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH before reacting. Solomon once wrote, "Any enterprise is built by wise planning. Become strong through common sense and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts." (Prov. 24:3,4) Think about what will be accomplished by your contribution before offering your opinions.

Illustration: One day a famous midwestern lawyer became so discouraged with his productivity that he despaired of everything in life. He wrote in his diary,

"I do not know if my life is worth anything to anyone. I often wonder if my life will ever be worth anything and I am afraid that it will not."

Even his close friends and family members removed all knives and razor blades from him fearing that he would commit suicide. Through prayer, meditation and the quiet assurances of his friends, this young man overcame his sense of depression. That man became the finest president of the US. His name was Abraham Lincoln. Honest Abe took those same hard earned lessons with him to the White House where he learned not to over-react in times of great civil war. God used his calm ability to deal with problems one at a time with wisdom and God’s guidance.

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