Protecting Anger, Holding Grudges, And The Silent Treatment

"Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the 
bosom of fools." - Solomon (Ecclesiastes 7:9)

"Anger that invades the sinner likes to set up housekeeping there. The sinner tends to protect the anger, safeguarding it like a baby or costly treasure. Holding grudges is a way of life 'under the sun.' Anger lodged in the bosom simmers there and continues to build up heat. How nonsensical human vanity is: anger is carefully retained by means of the silent treatment, by holding it in, until the heat of anger becomes intolerably hot, and a person winds up blurting out all sorts of hurtful words he never intended to say in the first place! One might think of the psychological warfare that is waged in the typical household. Hard feelings abound, but of course, common civility prohibits acting them out. A pall of stony silence envelopes the house as each family member treasures his private rage. In a sense, coming to blows would be far less cruel than completely and continually shutting out of one's life those who are nearest and dearest.

As with any other problem in life, the fear of God and his mercy in Jesus Christ provide the only antidote. Acknowledgement of one's sins and total inadequacy before God is the only way to honest dialog, confession, absolution, and resolution. Acknowledgement that the world is every bit as bad as Ecclesiastes says will help to replace anger with sympathy toward fellow human beings because they have to endure the same hard world. An attitude that conveys 'we're in this together' goes a long way under the grace of God."

- James Bollhagen, Ecclesiastes: Concordia Commentary (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2011), 246.

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