Reading: Proverbs 25: 20-28
These verses seem to be separate, unrelated thoughts until you read verse 28 – “Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.”
In Solomon’s day, a city without walls might as well have been dead. The walls protected it. The walls gave its citizens security. The walls showed others the worth and power of the city within. How would you feel if your home had no walls?
Now think of a person who cannot control his spirit (his feelings or emotions). His feelings come out and hurt himself and others. He is a danger to himself and others. What are some of the problems listed in Proverbs 25 that are caused by a lack of self-control?
“Sun and Wind” was written by Howard J. Chidley and published in the book Fifty-Two Talks for Boys and Girls in 1914. It is actually the retelling of a traditional fable. Chidley’s book is now out of print but still available free online.
SUN AND WIND
Once upon a time, according to an old fable, the sun and the northwind had a contest to see which could take a man’s coat off the more quickly.
The northwind tried first. It gathered together all its forces in its own corner of the earth, and then rushed forth upon this man who was walking along a country-road. The wind blew and blew, and it seemed as if the traveller’s coat would be blown from his back or torn to tatters. But the harder the northwind blew the tighter the man drew his coat about him, and the wind could not get it off his back. After it had spent all its force it gave up in despair.
Then the sun had its turn. It came out without noise or violence like the northwind. It did not whistle in the treetops nor bluster through the bushes. It did not buffet nor struggle with the man. It just went on pouring forth its heat. And it seemed as if it could never win, any more than the northwind. But soon the traveller took out his handkerchief and wiped the perspiration from his face. Then, before long, he took off his hat. Soon he unbuttoned his coat, and finally he took it off of his own accord. The sun had won the contest against the northwind!
Now, a fable is meant to teach a lesson. The lesson of this fable is that gentleness wins where only strength and rudeness fail. If some one has done you a wrong, the way to deal with him is not to try to “get even” with him, as we say. Nor is the best way to get angry with him and scold him. The Bible tells us that the way to overcome your enemy is to do good for evil, for it says by so doing you will “heap coals of fire upon his head.”
Usually it is the weak people who bluster like the northwind, and storm and brag. Strong people are usually quiet. There is an old saying that “if you are right you can afford to keep your temper, and if you are wrong you cannot afford to lose it.” Be gentle. You will win more that way than by getting angry.
For Further Study:
- Read Proverbs 25:20-22. What are some of the wonderful things that happen when we have control over our emotions? Think of how sad Jesus felt when He prayed in the garden before His death. Think of how He bore so much pain on the cross. What wonderful things happened then?
- Think of the things that make you lose your temper, break down crying, or make your heart jump. Can you learn to control your reaction to these things? It takes a lot of practice to become self-controlled. Some people also use the words “self-discipline” – this means it takes learning. How can you learn not to have such strong emotions? What can you pray about this?