Self-Control Week: Venting Anger

“A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.” (Proverbs 29:11)

This is such a mechanical-sounding description of controlling our anger. I picture some kind of steampunk contraption or maybe a system on a submarine. The verse suggests that when I feel the pressure of my anger building, I can open the release valve a little, all the way, or maybe even not at all.

clock_350How do I know how far to open the valve? How much anger can I safely express? Paul gives us two clues in Ephesians 4. The first is, “in your anger do not sin.” So I can open the valve far enough to let off a little steam as long as I don’t cross over into being unkind or hurtful or taking revenge, etc.

His second clue: Get rid of the anger before the day is over. I guess that means, in terms of this steam-tube metaphor, that I can’t just open the valve all of the way and spew all over everyone. I’ve got to find a way to reduce the heat, to cool the anger down inside before exploding.

It can feel so good to “give full vent” to our anger, but it’s what fools do. It always hurts, never helps. The person who can control her anger is on the path of wisdom.

Think: What helps you to control your anger, to avoid opening the valve all the way and letting it rip? What makes it harder for you to stay in control?

Pray: Ask God to help you not to give full vent to your anger, but to be wise and keep yourself under control.

Do: Read what else Ephesians 4:26-29 says about controlling our anger.