Sometimes the way that Eugene Peterson paraphrases Scripture in The Message cracks me up. Here’s what Proverbs 14:29 says;
Slowness to anger makes for deep understanding; a quick-tempered person stockpiles stupidity.
As happens several times in Proverbs, there is a contrast, a choice, of two ways to live.
The first is to be slow to anger. The more I think about this verse the more I realize how true it is. If we are slow to anger it results in deep understanding.
Think of the last time someone frustrated you and you handled it well. Instead of responding in anger you took your time to come up with a way to explain yourself. You went to that person and you talked to them face to face. You shared your “side” of the story, they shared theirs, you listened, they listened, and the result …. deeper understanding!
Now think of the last time someone frustrated you and you didn’t handle it well. You got angry quickly and the way you defused your anger was to tell your husband, your best friend, three coworkers, and put a vaguebook post on Facebook. Your anger increased as you listened to their their responses and the information they added to your story was like fuel to a fire. That is what the writer of Proverbs referred to as “Stockpiling stupidity.”
I’m just as guilty as the next person of stockpiling stupidity, especially when I am quick to anger with a few of my children. I keep thinking that if I just explain it one more time, more loudly and with more intensity, they will get it. And then I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes:
If you tell a child something 1,000 times and he still doesn’t get it, it’s not hte child that is the slow learner.
Sure, the words "stockpiling stupidity are harsh" but they certainly apply to me when I let my anger take over. Instead of gaining a deeper understanding, the resentment builds until relationships are much harder to fix.
Did you learn this song as a child? The last part stings.