When You're Angry, Slow Down and T.H.I.N.K.


A slow, calm response helps bring peace to a conflict.

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19, NIV)

You can save yourself a lot of pain and heartache if you follow one simple rule: Slow down when you’re angry or hurt.

The Bible says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19 NIV).

Yet, usually we do just the opposite. We’re quick to speak, slow to listen, and swift to become angry. That’s backward! But if you do the first two parts of the verse -- being slow to speak and quick to listen -- the last part will be automatic. You’ll find yourself becoming angry less often and less naturally.

This is an important principle the Bible emphasizes over and over again:

  • Proverbs 14:29: Patient people have great understanding, but people with quick tempers show their foolishness (NCV).

  • Proverbs 15:28: “Good people think before they answer. Evil people have a quick reply, but it causes trouble” (GNT).

  • Proverbs 15:18: “Losing your temper causes a lot of trouble, but staying calm settles arguments” (CEV).

How can you slow down and think before rushing to an angry response?

Use the acronym T.H.I.N.K. to remember these five important questions to ask before you react in anger.

  • T: Is it truthful? Is what I’m about to say the truth?
  • H: Is it helpful? Or will it simply harm the other person?
  • I: Is it inspirational? Does it build up, or does it tear down?
  • N: Is it necessary? If it’s not necessary, why do I need to say it?
  • K: Is it kind? Will it encourage or discourage?

It’s not enough to only slow down when you’re angry. You also need to take the extra time to T.H.I.N.K. about what to say or do next. Try it, and you’ll see how a slow, calm response will help bring peace to a conflict.

Talk It Over

Describe a time when you spoke quickly in anger and regretted it. How did the other person respond?

When have you chosen to slow down instead of rushing to an angry response? How did it bring positive benefits?

Have you ever used any part of the T.H.I.N.K. acronym? How did it help keep you from an angry response?

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This devotional © 2021 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission

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