A Remedy for Anger

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” – Proverbs 19:11 ESV

photo: Raye Wortel

photo: Raye Wortel

Anger is one of those emotions we’d rather not talk about.


There’s no good side to anger. Sure, there’s righteous anger where an injustice  may prompt us to take up a cause or pursue an action, but everyday, common anger – no matter how you turn it, ultimately makes you feel weak, ugly, and insecure.


And that’s for the one on the receiving end of it.


Something far deeper happens to those who are vessels of anger.


Like a slow-growing virus, anger infiltrates every area of your life before you’re aware you’re sick with it. It creates turmoil inside and out. You’re restless, on edge, and on the hunt. Every action – or interaction, becomes a potential threat. You no longer see people as well-intentioned, but rather as those who want to frustrate, hurt, or oppose you or your agenda.


People become irritations, experiences become points of displeasure, and once favorite places are now nothing more than a hassle. Mark Twain said it best when describing anger:


photo: Raye Wortel

photo: Raye Wortel


If we allow it, anger will act like a veil – cloaking our life, masking our sight, and entangling us in it’s folds.


I’ve had times in my life when anger has taken control. I felt dirty in my soul. All I wanted to do was shake free of it’s hold. I felt, well, less. My life had less control, less discipline, and less influence.


Then I’d get angry about what I was losing, and I’d end up losing more.


Last week, I shared a morning commute with what seemed like every distracted, aggressive, and confused driver in North County San Diego. By the time I got home, I was pretty angry. I knew I had to redirect my thoughts, so I grabbed my Bible and opened it to where I’d left off; Proverbs 19.


When I got to verse 11, I paused. “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”


Good sense? What’s that? Is good sense like having common sense? It’s clearly not listed as a fruit of the Spirit. Maybe I’ll just skip this verse …


But I couldn’t shake it.


Webster’s dictionary defines good sense as having intelligence, logic, and sound judgement. Okay, those are good words, but is that it? Does that mean if I’m logical or smart enough, I won’t get angry? Maybe if I study more, join Luminosity, or take more Omega 3 pills, I’d conquer anger.


There had to be more to what good sense meant, so I searched other Bible translations and found good sense also means having patience and discretion.


Patience. Okay, that’s a fruit of the Spirit. And discretion, well, that sums up almost every other fruit in the basket. In order to have discretion, you must have a healthy dose of goodness, kindness, gentleness, peace, and let’s not forget self-control.


So how does discretion help us with our anger?


Matthew Henry once said, “Discretion teaches us to defer our anger.”


That’s it. The remedy for anger is to put it aside.

  • Put it aside until you really understand what’s behind your anger.
  • Put it aside until it’s veil is lifted and truth can be seen.
  • Put it aside until you can weigh the offense from all sides.
  • Put it aside until you can speak of why you’re angry without sinning.


Deferring our anger grants us glory.


In our society, we value those who can counter an offense with a smart word, or a quick action. We say, “You have such good comebacks” or “I wish I was as quick-witted.”


But God says it’s to our glory (our credit, our strength, and our virtue) when we overlook an offense. To pass by a misdeed or a hurt and …


“Be like a deaf man; I do not hear,

like a mute man who does not open his mouth.

I have become like a man who does not hear,

and in whose mouth are no rebukes.” (Psalm 38:13-14)


Putting off anger doesn’t ignore your cause, nor does it cancel out your feelings. It puts you in a state of waiting, which leads to receiving what God has in store for you.


“But for you, O Lord, do I wait;

 it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer. (Psalm 38:15)


Your turn:


Have you ever deferred your anger? What was the result? How do you handle anger in the “heat of the moment”?

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