A Most Notable Verse
The discretion of a man deferreth his anger;
and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.
A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger,
And it is his glory to overlook a transgression.
A person’s insight gives him patience,
and his virtue is to overlook an offense.
A person’s discretion makes him slow to anger,
and it is to his credit that he ignores an offence.
A person’s wisdom makes him slow to anger,
and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
The learning of a man is known by patience
and his glory is to pass over wrongs.
While reading my daily proverb, this verse fell hard on my mind. Our family sometimes fail to follow the principles within. On our drive home from Stoneboro Camp meeting in Pennsylvania this week, we failed it miserably.
The things that struck my heart in this verse can be divided into four parts. They are as follows:
- The discretion of man . . .
- deferreth his anger . . .
- And it is his glory . . .
- to pass over a transgression.
1. The discretion of man . . .
Discretion in Hebrew, Sekel, שֵׂ֫כֶל, means ‘prudence’ and ‘insight.’ Its root, Sakal, שָׂכַל, means to be circumspect: cautious; prudent; watchful on all sides; examining carefully all circumstances that may affect an outcome, or a measure that should be adopted. ~ Webster
Discretion is an experiential word. This means that man has experience and knowledge of anger’s effects. Either through his own response to others’ transgressions or by observing those who have been angered by others.
Discretion is a quality of wisdom. It is a gift from God described in the oldest book in the bible. The book of Job.
But where shall wisdom be found?
and where is the place of understanding?
God understandeth the way thereof,
and he knoweth the place thereof.
And unto man he said,
Behold, the fear of the Lord,
that is wisdom;
and to depart from evil is understanding.
Job 28:12, 28
Interestingly, all things good found in man are corralled within his obedience to God.
A man who has discretion is a man who lives within Godly principles and reflects God’s discretion toward us. The following 3 verses give brief guidelines to biblical discretion.
But I tell you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
Be kind and tender-hearted to one another,
forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.
Bear with each other
and forgive any complaint you may have
against one another.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Discretion and deferring anger is a natural outcome of love as noted by long suffering and patience.
2. deferreth his anger . . .
Deferring anger has some immediate and longterm benefits.
Arak, אָרַך, to delay; means to endure an offense with the intention of postponing anger to a future time. When we do this, it allows us to hand over to God our personal judgment and corresponding response.
When we give our heart to God, we also give him the reigns of our emotions. He knows best how to deal with transgression in His own time and judgment.
do not go on passing judgment before the time,
but wait until the Lord comes
who will both bring to light
the things hidden in the darkness
and disclose the motives of men’s hearts;
and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.
~ 1 Corinthians 4:5
When we defer our anger toward others, we not only avoid causing them to be offended with our (ungodly) response, we also withhold from them our internal thought processes and feelings.
A transgressor can use our indiscretion (immediate anger) and trample under foot the thoughts and intentions of our heart, tearing them to pieces. Discretion helps us further develop Godly wisdom through such times and experiences (refer to Matthew 7:6).
God has given us protective measures in His word. It is our responsibility to utilize these measures of Godly wisdom and grace.
3. And it is his glory . . .
Tipharah, תִּפְאָרָה, refers to beauty and glory. This word is rooted in paar, פָּאַר, which means to glorify or beautify. It is an act being done to us.
Beauty is reflective of fine adornment like the adornment of fine linen that God clothes His saints.
Glory is in reference to honor or rank, it also applies to apparel that covers the high priest. These are all symbolic references of how God honors his saints.
God may give us a little glory in this world and touch our soul during prayer or worship in response to faithful obedience.
But I really believe that the glory described here refers to a more complete glory given to those who eagerly wait for their adoption as sons and the redemption of their bodies.
4. to pass over a transgression.
The last part of the verse is a principle that Jesus and the apostles repeat over and over again in scripture . . .
The first part of the word, abar, עָבַר, literally means to alienate, to pass by, or pass through. When we pass by or through something, we may feel its effect (like the wind), but it does not become a part of us.
To overlook also includes al, עַל, describing a position: up, above, or over. Like the spirit of God that moved over the waters considering the darkness that was upon the face of the deep (in Genesis 1:2), we too are to pass over the darkness we experience when others transgress against us.
To overlooking implies hope that forgiveness brings. Consider how many times you have sinned against God and how graciously He forgave you in His long-suffering, and unwillingness that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9).
When we overlook and forgive those who wrong us, hope and grace is provided them by our actions.
A person who knows Godly discretion is one who knows how to rule his spirit (Proverbs 16:32).
Who knows where the end of your love toward others may lead?
As James, the brother of Jesus Christ, taught us in his epistle, the path of righteousness is paved by deferring anger.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren,
let every man be swift to hear,
slow to speak, slow to wrath:
For the wrath of man worketh
not the righteousness of God.
~ James 1:19
Practicing Proverbs 19:11 leads to the righteousness of God, which belongs to those who are of full age, able to discern both good and evil.
Put on therefore, as the elect of God,
holy and beloved,
bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind,
Forbearing one another,
and forgiving one another,
if any man have a quarrel against any:
even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
And above all these things put on charity
~ Colossians 3:12-14a
Put on love in all you do.