A family from our church visited a health club in another state. One of their children was severely mistreated by a person in authority at the health club. But rather than climbing over the table and grabbing the insulting person by the neck, the father controlled his anger and walked out of the building. Later, he called the head of the health club and scheduled a meeting to discuss the incident.

The father was certainly capable of following through on his “gut feeling,” but he didn’t want to blow his testimony. He had enough wisdom to hold back. His reaction spoke louder than any angry words ever could.

Sometimes it seems like people are trying to devour us. They will be spiteful, inconsiderate, selfish, and outright mean. But the way we’re treated doesn’t have to determine how we react. Instead of saying or doing the first thing that comes to mind, it’s often better to hold back our judgment until we’ve had time to cool off. This is the best way to avoid saying or doing something we’ll regret later.

Sooner or later, someone will mistreat you—you’ll be cut off in traffic, publicly humiliated, or worse. The question is, how will you respond? Will you use wisdom and hold back your emotions, or will you blow your testimony? If you want people to know you’re a Christian, don’t tell them—show them with a Christ-honoring reaction. Your reaction will speak louder than words.

Anger blows out the lamp of the mind. It’s a child’s reaction to an adult situation. — Unknown Author

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder