Anger Yields Anger, Wisdom Yields Patience
“A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11, NIV)
Hurt people hurt people.
When someone hurts you, it’s because they’ve been hurt. Unkind people don’t feel kindness themselves. Unloving people feel unloved.
When someone is rude, bitter, unkind, sarcastic, mean-spirited, or arrogant, they are shouting with all of their behaviors, “I am in pain! I need massive doses of love! I do not feel secure!”
Secure, loved people don’t act that way. The person who feels deeply loved and deeply secure is generous and gracious to other people.
So how should you respond when someone hurts you? For many people, the knee-jerk response is anger.
Here’s a widely held belief: You have only a set amount of anger in your life. When that “bucket” of anger is full, you need to pour it out -- to express your anger. Then, when the bucket is empty, it will be cathartic.
If you believe that, you’ll struggle with anger for your entire life. The truth is that you don’t have just a bucket of anger. You have an entire anger factory! That factory can keep on producing and producing and producing. When you get rid of the anger you have, you’ll get more. In fact, the more anger you throw out, the more it produces.
Study after study has shown that aggression only creates more aggression. Angry outbursts lead to more anger, and soon anger becomes your habitual pattern.
So you can’t just pour your anger out; that anger bucket will just refill. Instead, you need to let it go.
Proverbs 19:11 says, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense” (NIV).
When your goal is to just get even, you’re no better than your opponent. To respond wisely instead, overlook offenses. Look past a person’s words to their pain. Offer love and patience.
The American poet Edwin Markham wrote a short poem that goes like this: “He drew a circle that shut me out -- heretic, rebel, a thing to flout. But Love and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle that took him in!”
When someone hurts you, you have a choice. You can respond in anger, which will only create more anger. Or you can respond wisely in love, overlooking offenses and overcoming evil with good.
Talk It Over
When have you seen evidence of an “anger factory” in your life or someone else’s? What were the results?
Think of a time that you chose to respond with wisdom and patience instead of anger. What happened?
When has someone shown patience instead of anger with you? How did that affect you?
Premium Resource: You Make Me Crazy Study Kit
This devotional © 2021 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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