by Rick Warren
“A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11 NIV)
Hurt people hurt people. When someone hurts you, it’s because they’ve been hurt. Unkind people have never felt kindness. Unloving people feel unloved. When someone is rude, bitter, unkind, sarcastic, mean spirited, or arrogant, they are shouting with all of their behaviors, “I am in pain! I need massive doses of love! I do not feel secure!” Because secure, loved people don’t act that way. The person who feels deeply loved and deeply secure is generous and gracious to other people.
If you want to just get even with people, fine. You’re no better than they are. When you get even, you are no better than the person who has attacked you. To be better than that person, you overcome evil with good. You respond with love. You look past their words to their pain.
Edwin Markum wrote a short poem that goes like this: “They drew a circle to shut me out, heretic, a rebel, a thing to flout. But love and I had the wit to win. We drew a circle that took them in.”
Here’s a myth that everybody’s been sold by modern psychology but that is flat out wrong: You have only a set amount of anger in your life, and it’s like you’ve got a bucket of anger. When that bucket gets full, modern psychologists say you need to express it. You need to just pour it out. Then, when the bucket is empty, it will be cathartic.
If you believe this myth, you’re going to struggle with anger your entire life, because you don’t have a bucket of anger in your life. You have a factory! That factory can keep on producing and producing and producing. When you get rid of that, you’ll get more. In fact, the more anger you throw out, the more it produces.
Study after study has shown that aggression only creates more aggression. Angry outbursts lead to more anger, more often, until it becomes a habitual pattern in your life.
The answer is not just to throw it out. It’s just going to refill! The answer is to let it go. “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11 NIV).