Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.–Proverbs 10:12 (ESV)

What an important and powerful word picture Proverbs 10:12 gives about anger toward others. We can “stir up” wounds or “cover” them with love and understanding, thus no longer being held in bondage by them.

If we choose to “stir up,” we put the spoon of rehearsing hurts and misunderstandings into a pot of boiling mud and grime. Then we stir, stir, and stir causing any moisture of grace and mercy to evaporate. Then the mass solidifies into a hardened brick.

It’s harder to resist throwing a hardened brick formed by bitterness and resentment after such rehearsing. We are easily tempted to hurl it at the offending party when she seems to be responding in hurtful ways. Or we think we feel better about ourselves by stacking brick after brick, building a wall of separation and distrust.

On the other hand, “covering” up is like taking the lid of that pot and securing it on top and throwing away the spoon. The lid is the forgiveness Jesus secured for us, which we did not earn nor deserve. We recognize how much we have been forgiven and must humbly apply it toward others.

No longer can we see the attractiveness of the boiling anger or have something to stir it with. Then we can gladly take the covered pot and throw it all away.

Here are some verses from Proverbs to ponder as you think of heart attitudes which can overcome bitterness and misunderstandings.

11:2: When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

11:12: Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.

11:27: Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor, but evil comes to him who searches for it.

12:18: There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

19:11: Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

20:22: Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.

Which of these heart attitudes is one you want to grow in? How will you do that in God’s power?

Please feel free to share any wisdom you’ve gained about stopping the stirring of anger.

(This is an adapted excerpt from my women’s Bible Study book on Proverbs: Heart Wisdom: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series. If you’d like a free copy of the first lesson from Heart Wisdom, make a comment letting me know. The first lesson is on the verses in Proverbs about words. Every lesson has a different theme.)