The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.
There are two very important nuggets of wisdom in this verse that are vital for us to apply in dealing with other people. When dealing with others (whether they are family, friends, work colleagues or other drivers on the road), we need to:
- Avoid outbursts of anger. Whether it is simply verbal anger or anger that includes violence, the Bible teaches that we are to control and avoid displays of anger. Some claim that it is healthy to yell or hit something to “get it out of your system,” but this is not God’s way. God’s Spirit leads to self-control (Galatians 5:23). Controlling verbal anger can prevent serious contentions from beginning (Proverbs 17:14). Developing the habit of being “slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19) will help us to avoid much grief and conflict in our lives.
- Refrain from criticizing or attacking every fault we see in others. Human beings are inherently imperfect (Romans 3:23) and frequently make mistakes, have errors in judgment or say things imperfectly. We have to remember that God is ultimately the judge (Psalm 75:7), and we are not to be in constant judgment of others (Matthew 7:1). If we constantly criticize and correct others for every little fault, we will be in constant contention and risk developing the self-righteous attitude of the Pharisees (Luke 18:11). But we must also remember that we are not to overlook sin either. There is a difference between “bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:13) and overlooking and tolerating open sin, as the Corinthians were guilty of in 1 Corinthians 5:1-2.
Proverbs, a book about godly wisdom, teaches the importance of balance. This verse highlights two important attributes of a balanced, godly person: being slow to anger and not being a constant critic of others. Developing this balance will lead to a peaceful life (Romans 14:19).
To learn more about how to be at peace and improve relationships with others, read the articles in our “Relationships” section.
Tomorrow on the Daily Bible Verse blog: Man Becomes a Living Being—Part 1