A wise man restrains his anger and overlooks insults. Prov 19:11
I’d had a rough couple of days, getting into arguments that left me hurt and angry with my loved ones. We were on a family vacation at Hume Lake Christian Camps, of all places, when I came across this sign that hit me like a smack in the face. I decided to take a picture of it so I could use it on my blog. I remember trying to position my camera so as to get any background distractions out of the shot. I took a few different angles and then tucked it away to use later.
For the rest of the long weekend I was trying to focus on that proverb. I felt confident that I was in the “right” and others were in the wrong. However, I was going to do my best to be “wise and restrain my anger and overlook insults”. Trouble is, I was having a really hard time. Truth be told, I was letting my anger stew and feeling more and more insulted. On the outside, I was trying to be polite and amiable, but on the inside my heart was breaking.
Now a week later, we’ve been able to talk through our differences and come to new understandings and compromises. I thought I was going to sit and write about how restraining anger and overlooking insult really did help me work things out. Then I looked at the picture I had taken. I was getting ready to crop it and start thinking about my week. That’s when I noticed the red YIELD sign right above the proverb.
I started thinking about what we yield our lives to. Oh, I was yielding, alright, but I was yielding to my own sense of how things should go down. Romans 6:16 says,
“You are slaves of the one you obey.”
Oswald Chambers, in My Utmost For His Highest, said, “The first thing I must be willing to admit when I begin to examine what controls and dominates me is that I am the one responsible for having yielded myself to whatever it may be. If I am a slave to myself, I am to blame because somewhere in the past I yielded to myself. Likewise, if I obey God I do so because at some point in my life I yielded myself to Him.”
Well, if I’m to be honest, I need to admit I had been hiding behind a proverb but not yielding to it. I was yielding to my own sense of right and wrong. I was barely restraining my anger and completely holding on to feeling insulted. I was, in fact, wallowing in my own indignation. Chambers continues, “It is easy to sing, ‘He will break every fetter,’ while at the same time living a life of obvious slavery to yourself. But yielding to Jesus will break every kind of slavery in any person’s life.”
How often do I say Jesus is the Lord of my life, but then live my life with complete disregard for what He is calling me to? How often do I fool myself that I am following the promptings of the Holy Spirit but in reality am following my heart? Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us that,
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
What chance do I have? I am fooled by my own wicked heart! But God does not leave me there! Today He used a street sign to remind me that fortunately, there is hope. In 2 Chronicles 30:8-9, Hezekiah calls the people to,
“Yield yourselves to the Lord and come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever, and serve the Lord your God… For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful”
There is sanctuary, a place of refuge, in the Lord. Yield your heart, your actions, your life to Him for He is gracious and merciful with you.