He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. (Proverbs 16:32, NKJV)
History is full of conquering heroes who defeated kingdoms, vanquished cities, and ruled empires with great power. Yet, It is better to be slow to anger than it is to rule a city. The person who rules (exercises dominion over) his or her spirit is to be preferred and is due more honor than the mightiest conqueror. There is no honor in being short-fused or quick-tempered. Genuine strength of character includes being “slow to anger” when provoked. Control over one’s spirit requires prudent discretion, therefore, “He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly” (Proverbs 14:29). The sinfulness of anger is well documented in Scripture (Matthew 5:21-26; Colossians 3:8; Galatians 5:20). A mark of loving our neighbor as ourselves is refusing to be provoked to anger against him (1 Corinthians 13:5; Matthew 5:44). To control one’s spirit by not being angry when wronged shows great strength of faith. Such self-control is the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23). We must be “slow to wrath” if we wish to produce the righteousness of God in our lives (James 1:19-20). Therefore, rule over your spirit, be calm in your soul, and be honored by the Lord.