Over the years I have struggled with what I call “losing my temper”, but truth is, I didn’t lose it, I let it go. There are a lot of things I have said and done in the heat of anger that I am not proud of, even though many times I worked hard to justify it. Many of us struggle with this, and countless others have to live with the fall-out. Proverbs gives us clear warnings about the dangers of not controlling our anger, as well as ways we can benefit from learning to reign it in. Proverbs 19:11 has become a regular reminder to me of one of those benefits: “Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.” (NLT) I love this! By choosing not to merely react, but to control my anger, I can become someone God, and others, see as sensible or wise, while gaining their respect. It’s funny, but I used to think that my anger was garnering me respect, but the truth is I was just misreading other people’s fear of me. Indiscriminate anger can intimidate, but it won’t earn real respect.
One more point from this passage, “overlooking wrongs” here means don’t nit-pick everything someone does that you think is out of line or wrong. Parents and bosses, this is critical for building strong relationships with the people you lead. By offering others grace, (the same grace we want them to give us) we can eliminate a lot of unnecessary friction and build true respect for when big-ticket problems arise that need to be addressed.