Imagine someone you do not particularly like coming up to you, and in front of all your friends, begins to passionately accuse you of things you have never thought of, let alone have done. How would you react in such circumstances?

In such cases, maintaining temperance is the key; otherwise, you could worsen an already unpleasant situation. But what is temperance?

Temperance is self-control. It is the ability to control yourself at difficult circumstances. Such an ability is precious when you run into a seemingly overwhelming situation. This is why the wise King Solomon once said, "One who is slow to anger is better than the mighty; one who rules his spirit, than he who takes a city." (Proverbs 16:32, WEB.)

Let us go back to the opening question: how would you react when someone falsely accuse you? If you start to fight back with insults, your situation could escalate into a live soap opera. However, if you keep your cool, you will "put to silence the ignorance of foolish men." (1 Peter 2:15)

Keeping your cool is following the wise advice of God's Word: "Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger." (James 1:19) Let us see how you can apply this piece of wisdom to your imaginary situation:

1) Being "swift to hear" is giving the other person your undivided attention as they speak to you. Even though we may not always enjoy listening to everything others say to us, as listeners, we have the responsibility to show respect to the speakers when they ask us to listen to them.

"Swift to hear" also means that we should be focused on the words of the speakers, not letting their words enter into one ear and out the other. Thus, carefully listen to what the person is accusing you of, then you will be able to fully give an answer when they are done speaking. If you do not fully listen, your defense may not match their accusation, and in turn, it may cause even more confusion and frustration.

2) "Slow to speak" is carefully studying your words before you speak. While you may have hundreds of words you would like to say in your defense and many biting insults boiling inside your chest, they may not help you in your defense. Before you answer them, ask yourself, "Would what I'm about to say really help me? How would my words reflect on me and my character?"

We are what we speak. Thus, you must be careful that others will not misjudge you by your own words. Speech that is accusatory, hurtful, and insulting, never helps a painful situation but will only add to the pain. Your aim is to end the issue as comfortably and quickly as possible, so choose words that will accomplish your goal. Always stick to the facts, nothing more, nothing less.

The tongue has two faces like fire. When used wisely, it brings blessings; when used incorrectly, it yields disasters. One who speaks rashly is like "the piercing of a sword," while "the tongue of the wise heals." (Proverbs 12:18) When you speak, would you want your words to heal or destroy?

3) "Slow to anger" is just that--not easily angered. Anger unnecessarily adds to unpleasantness. Would your anger help you solve your problem? Would your anger help you in your defense? No; on the contrary, anger often clouds your judgment and makes you say or do something you will regret later on. This is why we should not let "the sun go down on [our] wrath" (Ephesians 4:26).

Your calmness is your wordless defense. Remember, actions speak much louder than words. Show through your demeanor that you are blameless and faultless before all.

When you are able to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, even if you may be wrongly spoken against as a bad person, "they may be disappointed who curse your good way of life in Christ." (1 Peter 3:16) Prove others wrong by your way of life!

Need help in developing temperance in you? No problem--we all do; ask Jehovah, and He will abundantly bless you with it, for temperance is a part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (godly qualities such as love, peace, and meekness) that God wishes to develop in each person, and it can be developed fully in you only by God.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Shirley Cheng (b. 1983), a blind and physically disabled award-winning author with twenty-seven book awards, proclaimer of Jehovah God's good news of salvation through Jesus Christ, Summa Cum Laude (Highest Honor) graduate with Doctor of Divinity, motivational speaker, self-empowerment expert, poet; author of nine books (including "Do You Love Jehovah?"), contributor to twenty-two, and an editor of one; and a parental rights advocate, has had severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since infancy. Owing to years of hospitalization, she received no education until age eleven. Back then, she knew only her ABCs and very simple English; other than that, her book knowledge was non-existent. However, after only about 180 days of special education in elementary school, she mastered grade level and entered a regular sixth grade class in middle school. Unfortunately, Shirley lost her eyesight at the age of seventeen. After a successful eye surgery, she hopes to earn multiple science doctorates from Harvard University.

Do you have questions about the Bible? Something you don't understand? Do you need a bit of guidance in developing a relationship with Jehovah? Then Shirley would like to help you! Please contact her via her site at and she would be more than glad to do her best to answer your questions! Never hesitate to ask questions, for no question about the Bible is ever too small or stupid.