If a wise person goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.
— Proverbs 29:9
As the American Civil War was beginning to draw to an end, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which would free the slaves across the country. On the day he signed the document, he took his pen, moved it to the signature line, paused for a moment, and then dropped it.
When asked why he was pausing, the President replied, “If my name goes into history, it will be for this act, and if my hand trembles when I sign it, there will be some who will say, ‘he hesitated.’” So Lincoln then turned to the table, took up the pen, and boldly signed his name on one of our nation’s greatest documents.
Zeal can be a good thing, but it must be put into check so as not to let raw emotion be our guide. Just as Abraham Lincoln paused before doing something he was clearly passionate about, so we as Christians must understand how our emotions can shape the impression we leave on others.
Whether it’s a political conversation, evangelism opportunity, or a simple chat about an emotion-evoking subject, keep your zeal in check. Don’t allow your emotions to damage your credibility. That way, you’ll get your point across more clearly as you maintain good rapport with others.
Ask God to help you communicate clearly with others by keeping your emotions in check.
Questions for Thought
Why do you think overly emotional conversations are rarely productive?
What topics of conversation evoke emotions from you that could damage your credibility if you don’t keep them in check?