Learn To Defer Your Anger
‘The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression. Proverbs 19:11’
You can be glorious today, for someone will surely offend you. With the discretion of God’s wisdom, you can defer your anger and ignore his or her transgression against you. You can turn the other cheek, pass over the provocation, and choose mercy over wrath. But only those obeying Jesus Christ and taught by the Holy Spirit will ever do so.
Discretion is the ability to know the right action for any occasion. Deferring is putting off, delaying, or postponing something. Godly discretion chooses to delay and postpone getting angry when someone offends you. It is the mark of a wise man, a gracious and gentle spirit. It is a mark of Christian maturity, for only wicked fools quickly strike back.
Anger is temporary insanity, and to give in to its hot and hasty demands will surely cause you to misjudge an offence and retaliate out of proportion (Pr 14:17). Once an offence is turned into conflict and strife, then you have a war that is not easily ended (Pr 17:14; 18:19). Discretion is the wise choice to regain your sanity before judging an offence.
This is a wonderful proverb, one of the best. If practiced consistently, personal relationships would be perfect and human societies would be joyful and productive. This is true love and friendship. Marriages observing this rule will be glorious. Churches practicing this discretion will be happy and Spirit-filled. If everyone overlooked personal offences and gloried in the opportunity to forgive, life could be wonderful.
But pride keeps a man from deferring anger. He must strike back in quick revenge to protect his imagined superiority and hurt feelings. Desiring preeminence over others, he must protect his self-interests. Sullen faces appear, sharp words are spoken, criticisms are hurled without cause, and blows might even be thrown. This is a proud fool.
God’s wisdom does not change. Jesus taught this rule plainly in Matthew 5:38-48, where He called for offering another cheek to personal enemies. He said not to resist evil, when it is a personal offence against you. He said to do good to your personal enemies. This is the way of godly peacemakers, and they become very good at it. They glory in forgiving, and they are glorious in the forgiveness they give enemies. They are the true sons of God.
Peter, ever the impetuous disciple, asked Jesus how often he had to forgive a brother offending him. He wanted the limit at seven, after which he could justify revenge, but Jesus raised the bar to seventy times seven, far above Peter’s natural discretion (Matt 18:21-35). Yet by the strength of Christ, you can be so godly and righteous (Phil 4:13).
Christianity is the religion of forgiveness, for it is the cornerstone of your relationship with God and others (Matt 6:14-15). It takes far more grace and character to overlook a personal offence than to strike back in anger. Godly wisdom and strength is the desire and ability to rule a hasty spirit (Pr 16:32; Jas 1:19-20). Those who think passing over offences is weakness, fear, and compromise are fools.
You will be offended today by how others treat you. It is a certainty in a sinful world. You will have numerous opportunities to practice wisdom, grace, and glory. What will you do? Will you defer anger or resentment and glory in an opportunity to show the grace of Jesus Christ in your life? Or will you strike back verbally or bodily in self-protection?
May the grace and strength of the Lord Jesus Christ convince you by His Spirit to practice this proverb. Overcome evil with good! May the world see your good works of mercy and forgiveness and the kingdom of God increased and improved by your actions.