Be Slow to Anger

KEY VERSE: “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.” —Proverbs 19:11

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 14:29; 15:18; 16:32; 19:11; 25:28

THE SCRIPTURES IDENTIFIED with this lesson call us to self-control and a proper rule over our own spirit. Such self-restraint allows us time to think and reflect prayerfully on the best way to respond in difficult or tense situations that arise during the experiences of life. Development of these traits is a very challenging part of our Christian growth and maturity, but is ultimately required if we are to be successful in our walk of faith.

“He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.” (Prov. 14:29) The key to following the admonition of this verse lies within the innermost part of our being, the heart. One who finds himself having habitual problems controlling his anger most likely has a heart condition that is predisposed to heated arguments, rather than the sentiments of love, mercy or kindness. Before one can correct the more outward problem of displayed anger, he must first cleanse his impure heart. The Apostle Paul says, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.”—Heb. 10:22

With our hearts centered on proper Godlike characteristics, we are then able to begin conquering our outward words and actions. We know that it is pleasing to him that we avoid malice, anger, and strife by displaying kindness, long-suffering and love in our dealings with others—even those who may speak or act against us. “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.”—Prov. 15:18

“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” (Prov. 16:32) This verse tells us that, from God’s standpoint, one who exercises the proper self-control in the affairs of life has an inner strength of character superior to the mighty deeds of men. God himself is the greatest example of these attributes. The psalmist says, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” (Ps. 103:8) By contrast, one who does not have proper control over his words and actions is described as, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”—Prov. 25:28

Such a city would be vulnerable to easy destruction by the enemy. A character in this condition also would be wide open to the penetrating darts of our Adversary, with little defense left for protection.

The Key Verse of our lesson tells of a still higher level of development along these lines. It points out that while it is important for us to learn how to control our anger, it is even more pleasing to God that, whenever possible, we overlook the transgression entirely, especially if it is not in direct violation of some vital principle of Truth. The Apostle Peter identifies this deeper stage of development as relating directly to love, when he says, “Above all things have fervent charity [love] among yourselves: for charity [love] shall cover the multitude of sins.”—I Pet. 4:8

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:31,32) We must conquer this enemy of anger, putting it far away from our hearts and actions to be true followers of Christ.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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