TOO LATE TO TAKE IT BACK
Later when the anger of King Xerxes had subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what he had decreed about her. Esther 2:1
Anger can be productive as it causes someone apathetic to become passionate. It’s empowering, too. I can clean my house in record time when I’m worked up about something. But we all know that anger can also be destructive. Once released without discretion, there are long-term consequences that are often irreversible. How many have blown up, said awful things to someone they care about, and then later lament in regret. They would do anything to take back the words and the hurt they caused.
The king, under the influence of too much alcohol, was furious when Queen Vashti refused to cater to his whims. He overreacted, consulted his advisors, and wrote a new law that banished her from his presence. Once his anger had subsided, he missed his wife but it was too late. Once a law was drafted and then sealed with the royal seal, it was irrevocable. Oh, the grief he must have felt over the sudden death of such an important relationship. I wonder if he regretted the law he had made, or regretted his anger that caused him to write it, or even felt sorry for the original order he gave to Vashti to dance for his drunken party. I hope it was all three.
The writer of Proverbs said, “When the heart is hot, the tongue must be silent.” Tempers release words. Oftentimes, it is anger that enables someone to become eloquent under the influence of rage. Usually quiet, they seem to find their voice when anger is hot, though it’s not a voice that speaks prudently.
Righteous speech is always my priority. Being right is not the goal nor is assaulting the offender and leaving him in pieces. My greatest need, when angry, is to hear God and know what His response would be were he to live His life through me. There probably is a truth to be spoken. It may be pointed or soft. It may sting or it may be merciful. I can’t guess God’s will and just wing it. Never am I more wrong than when I act impulsively out of hurt.
Wise words are cultivated in seasons of stillness. Without a season of prayer, I will say something I regret. Words will forever be remembered, reviewed, and continue wounding even though much time has past. The deeper the wound, the greater the chance that an apology will only be a band aid on something that needs intensive care.
Today, I may be wronged. I will feel the turn of the knife in my soul. The fruit of Your Holy Spirit is self-control. Help me walk away, pray, listen, and then respond as You lead me. In Jesus name, Amen.