Getting to the heart of the matter

I spend my time week-by-week reading, studying, praying and sometimes just sitting through different verses. I do this with another woman and in this way there is a constant drumming of truth beating within us.

This week, we are sitting with Proverbs 19:11:
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. (ESV)
A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. (NIV)
Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs. (NLT)

This is a week when I need this habit more than I need coffee.

I have been struggling with anger longer than I realized. Shuffling off my reactions blaming stress or other people made it seem as if my anger and fits were appropriate.

But Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

I have questions and thoughts that are stirred up because of this one verse, such as: to be incongruent between what you feel and how you act – would this not create a lack of genuineness?

I began to look into some of the themes from this passage, such as:

patience
The quality of forbearance and self-control which shows itself particularly in a willingness to wait upon God and his will. Believers are called upon to be patient in their expectations of God’s actions, and in their relationships with one another.

resentment, against people
A sinful, emotional response to others or to circumstances, frequently caused by envy or a sense of injustice.

It is not a lack of genuineness; of course we are not called to be two-faced. We are called to be patient – self-controlled – to trust in the Lord. And it is, in fact, to our credit and our good to practice this since without it resentment will grow and resentment, when left to grow, will weave through every piece of life and strangle it to death.

How convicting and freeing this is to sit with. I can choose to practice patience – with others, myself and God. In all honesty I can call this anger what it is and then I can begin to seek the Lord more clearly regarding this.

My anger may be real, but it does not make my actions right. I can have valid feelings and they can still be wrong. My feelings are not a foundation for what should motivate my beliefs, thus, my behavior.

I recognize that there are offenses I need to forgive, again and again, and there are insults I need to overlook. I also recognize that not all need to be overlooked – there is a biblical way to handle some offenses by talking with people directly.

I had a friend share with me about a man who has borne negative reaction from many people for leading as he follows the vision God has given him. She pointed out how inhuman it was to be so gracious and how much she respects him for this.

I feel like I used to be more like that. I used to surrender these place of anger, resentment – pride. But I have begun to hang offenses around my neck like decoration and pin them to my chest like medals for others to see and marvel at how I wear them.

How foolish.

Anger only serves to hang around my neck like a noose and only pins down my heart like a weight.

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