Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.Proverbs 29:11 (NLT)
My family has a tradition of hanging lights up on our house during the Christmas season. In general, there hasn’t been a huge effort by me to do so. All I need is a ladder, a couple of extension cords, and boom, lights! However, when we lived in Southern California, it was a little more complicated because we lived in a two-story house. The ladder I owned was too short to gain me access to the roof (which I needed to do in order to get the lights hung properly) so I popped one of the window screens out, which made it easy to climb out of the window and onto the roof. Within minutes, the lights were hung. I climbed back through the window and began the process of putting the screen back in. Except, the screen didn’t want to go back in. No matter how many times I tried, I could not get the screen to fit back in the hole that it had come out of. I tried to be patient, but after about 15 minutes, I lost my cool. In a fit of rage, I began slamming the screen onto the ground and against the wall. I began jumping on it, hitting it, screaming at it. By the time I was done, the screen was a mangled mess on the ground, I was out of breath, and my wife was standing in the doorway just shaking her head. When we moved a couple of years later, that window still didn’t have a screen in it.
In this life, we will get angry. It’s a fact. Things won’t go our way, so we feel our blood pressure rise, our fists get ready for a fight, and we lash out at those in our path of destruction. In our day and age of social media, we’ve got a whole new way to vent our anger and frustration that doesn’t even require a physical confrontation.
However, King Solomon said something very wise in our verse today, “Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.” We’re not supposed to blow up, or go off. We are called to keep our cool and work through the difficulties.
Jesus modeled this behavior for us all the way to the cross. He had every reason to be angry and to lash out at those who were murdering Him. Instead, He kept His cool. He prayed for their forgiveness. He showed mercy, not hostility.
Today, and every day, pray that God will help you control your anger, and instead empower you to be a peacemaker. Walk in the way of the wise.