Together in Christ: 'Quietly Hold it Back' — Proverbs 29:11

Monday, April 17, 2023

Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.

— Proverbs 29:11 NLT

Key Thought

Jesus showed us there is a time for holy anger to be displayed when people profane the places, people, and purposes of God. [1] However, most of us have less of a problem dealing with this kind of righteous indignation than we do managing our self-protecting anger. We feel someone has wronged, slighted, abused, and neglected us. Our fleshly, sinful nature desires revenge. So, what do we do with our anger toward others for personal offenses? Many Christians are familiar with the inspired teaching from the apostle Paul:

And "don't sin by letting anger control you." Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. [2]

Paul is reflecting on a Psalm that he partially quotes. I also believe he has in mind Cain's anger that God addressed directly:

Don't sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. [3]
Then the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it." [4]

Our proverb on relationships today emphasizes that we must quietly hold back our anger and not vent it on another. So, what do we do in our relationships when we are angry? Since we shouldn't vent our anger on someone, is there a spiritual strategy for quietly holding it back yet not letting the sun go down on that anger while thinking about it overnight? Isn't this contradictory? How do we rule over our anger and not let Satan use it to have us and own us?

We know these are essential questions because anger has destroyed many people and their relationships with others. Let's emphasize some biblically revealed principles to help us:

  • Anger is destructive, especially when unleashed and uncontrolled, so I must refuse to let it master me. [5]
  • I am responsible for maintaining self-control and control over my anger as I am led and empowered by the Spirit to produce godly fruit in my life. [6]
  • While I must not let the sun go down on my anger, during the night, I can contemplate my response toward those who have made me angry, forgive them, and seek the Spirit's help to respond in godly ways. [7]
  • I must remember that goal of my interactions with others is not to win arguments or get even but to say and do what builds up the other person and forgive them. [8]
  • Remember how God forgave me when I was unworthy and had Jesus pay the price for my sins worthy of God's anger. I can seek the help of the Spirit to forgive as God forgave me. [9]
  • Hold in my heart the realization that Jesus died to redeem and forgive the person with whom I'm angry, just as He did for me. [10]
[1] Luke 19:45-48; John 2:13-22.
[2] Ephesians 4:26.
[3] Psalm 4:4 NIV.
[4] Genesis 4:3-7.
[5] Genesis 4:3-8; Ephesians 4:26.
[6] Galatians 5:19-26; James 1:19-20.
[7] Ephesians 4:26-5:2.
[8] Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13.
[9] Romans 5:6-11; Ephesians 5:1-2.
[10] Romans 14:15; 1 Corinthians 8:11.

Today's Prayer

Loving and forgiving Father, please mold my heart to be more like Jesus' heart. Release the power of the Holy Spirit to transform my emotions and actions as I deal with flawed people who sometimes disappoint and wound me. I need your help, dear Father, to control my anger — to not internalize it or vent it, but release it to your grace and power and manage it with the help of the Spirit. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Ephesians 4:25-5:2
  • Galatians 5:13-26


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Illustration of Proverbs 29:11 NLT — Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.