As someone who has learned over many years how to diminish the hold of anger, I’m so grateful God inspired Solomon and other writers to pen Proverbs to teach us godly responses about anger and conflict. God knows humans will struggle with many areas of life. The battle began in the Garden of Eden and has never stopped.
After Adam and Eve sinned, destruction began with the murder of one son by the other. Though so close to the point of creation, the son refused to call upon God for help with conflict and deal with his anger.
God didn’t give up on His creation and gives practical help in Proverbs for anger. We have a choice about dealing with our human unpleasant emotions. We can choose destruction or act wisely motivated by trust in God.
Proverbs Teaches Us to Stop Stirring Up Our Anger
There is much practical instruction in Proverbs but let’s focus on one verse:
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. ~ Proverbs 10:12 (ESV) #anger Click To Tweet
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses” (Proverbs 10:12 ESV).
What an important and powerful word picture giving us insights about anger toward others. It contrasts two reactions. One is godly and the other is ungodly. We can “stir up” wounds or “cover” them with love and understanding, thus no longer being held in bondage by them.
If we choose to “stir up,” we put the spoon of rehearsing hurts and misunderstandings into a pot of boiling mud and grime. Then we stir, stir, and stir causing any moisture of grace and mercy to evaporate. Then the mass solidifies into a hardened brick.
It’s harder to resist throwing a hardened brick formed by bitterness and resentment after such rehearsing—such “stirring.” We are easily tempted to hurl it at the offending party when she seems to be responding in hurtful ways. Or we think we feel better about ourselves by stacking brick after brick, building a wall of separation and distrust.
Stir Up or Cover Up
On the other hand, “covering” up is like taking the lid of that pot, securing it on top and throwing away the spoon. The lid represents the forgiveness Jesus secured for us, which we did not earn nor deserve. We recognize how much we have been forgiven and must humbly apply it toward others.
No longer can we see the attractiveness of the boiling anger or have something to stir it with. Then we can gladly take the covered pot and throw it all away. No longer are we stirring up and focusing on the hurt from others, but we are focused on how God values us. Then we don’t need to react in anger to protect our image, reputation, or the way we are perceived or our goals are being blocked. What freedom and joy!
We can also ask ourselves, how am I stirring up my anger and bitterness by rehearsing the faults or hurtful reactions of others? How can I “cover up” with love by remembering something loving or kind they did? Is God calling me to trust His love is sufficient by risking loving that person unconditionally?
Description: Heart Wisdom: Daughters of the King Bible Study Seriesby Kathy Collard Miller is a women’s write-in Bible study on Proverbs. Ten lessons explore ten different topics addressed in the biblical book of Proverbs including words, anger/conflict, marriage/parenting, The Proverbs 31 Woman, relationships, correction, money, trusting God, pride/humility, and love/hatred. Along with meaningful questions, Kathy offers insightful commentary, a section on women of the Bible and a touching “Letter from God.”
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Kathy Collard Miller is amazed at God’s plan in leading her into ministry over 40 years ago after He delivered her from being a child abuser and healing her marriage. She has over 55 books published and has spoken in over 35 US states and 8 foreign countries. She and her husband married in 1970 and minister together as lay counselors, writers and speakers. They live in Southern California and love being parents and grandparents.
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