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November 5, 1990

Wise Action versus Impulsive Action

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If a ruler’s anger rises against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great errors to rest. ECCLESIASTES 10:4
Sooner or later in any work context, something is going to make us really mad.
It might be a misunderstanding. It could be an injustice. Or it might be some kind of strong disagreement. Regardless of the actual issue, the result might be to make us so angry that we just simply throw in the towel and walk out the door. “I’m not taking this anymore!” we fume. “I can’t work with a person who does that! I’m out of here!”
Even though our frustration might be completely justified, Solomon advises us to slow down and refrain from taking impulsive action. “If a ruler’s anger rises against you,” he says, “do not leave your post; calmness can lay great errors to rest.” In other words, continue on in your responsibility. Show a level of maturity that may be difficult but in the long run might serve as a stabilizing factor.
Obviously there are times when we need to walk off the job and never look back. But Solomon seems to be saying that those times may be fewer than we might think. More often than not, we simply need to grit our teeth, control our tongues, mask our reactions, and simply keep on working. That does not prevent us from walking off the job after we’ve had more time to think about it and reflect. But that should not be our first response.
How do you respond when your boss makes you mad? Do you take a deep breath and try to evaluate the situation objectively, or do you act impulsively? Be mature. Follow Solomon’s example.

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