Just before my junior season in college, I received a letter from my dad. Here it was! Words of encouragement and inspiration from the first coach I ever had. I opened the letter with eagerness: “Brad, let this verse be your guide this season. Proverbs 29:11. Love, Dad.” Awesome. I opened my Bible, expecting incredible things to begin.

Here’s what that verse says: “A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back” (NASB).

What? Well, the back-story gives the full picture. During the first two years of my college career, I managed to get myself ejected from three games. Now, honestly, I felt I only deserved one of those ejections, but after each one, I lost my temper and embarrassed myself.

So, here was the word from dad: stop being a fool and be wise instead. The truth hurts, sometimes, but I learned my lesson. My last two years of college were different. Less barking at umpires and more just playing ball. Less getting angry and losing my temper over things I couldn’t change and more just playing ball.

It’s plain. Be a fool and lose your temper all the time, or be wise and hold it back. One is productive, one is not. One builds a reputation, the other tears it down. One helps relationships, the other destroys them. Your choice.

Here’s a prayer:

Lord Jesus, you got angry and never sinned. Please help me with my anger. I don’t want to be a fool and lose my temper. Make me wise. Make me like you. Amen.