Proverbs 19:11 The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.
Let’s look at this verse for a bit. The word “discretion” means using showing good judgment by discriminating between what is proper and improper so as to not expose yourself to criticism, shame, or harm. In a less used meaning “discretion” means to separate such as a when choosing a discrete corner of a restaurant which is more private. Therefore discretion implies the kind of privacy that shows good judgment and so discretion is related to modesty, decorum, and manners. The word “defer” means to delay or else entirely decline an opportunity to take action until a later date or else passing that opportunity to another person or to prefer another person’s opinion over your own in some matter. Usually if you are passing a matter of judgment to another person the word “refer” is used as in referring the matter to another person. But “defer” is still correct as in giving deference to a higher authority. The word “defer” comes from the Latin “differo” which means “from” or perhaps “different” and “fero” which means to “bear (or carry).” And so to defer anger would be to pass over it for the time being or else to drop the matter altogether, just as the second clause of the verse suggests. A “transgression” is an offence, personal or legal, a violation of manners, oath, law, or procedure, etc. It carries the sense of crossing a line. Glory of course is beauty expressed personally by the kind of public fame or honour bestowed on people who accomplish something great.
So then we can say that the verse is telling us to handle matters privately when possible or to pass over them all together even when someone has done us wrong because God is pleased by this and the fact that we can handle them privately shows grace, class, humility, and true power in that we are in a position to defer to another person, time, place, or ignore the matter altogether without suffering harm to our pride. By doing this our anger is subdued and we will not act inappropriately violent or fierce by hitting, hurting, or yelling at people. Showing deference to other people and understanding their weaknesses and knowing that they are imperfect and therefore human allows us to defer our own anger and lay it aside and forgive the person who has wronged us. The time delay between learning of an offense and reaction caused by the deference gives us time to calm down, reflect, and be more circumspect (well-rounded in our perspective seeing things from every angle) so that our reactions are more appropriate and less embarrassing for ourselves and others.
This is what the Bible says Christians ought to do when handling matters between each other and it is what Joseph intended to do with Mary when he thought she had been unfaithful. She was actually with child of the Holy Ghost but he was unaware of that immediately. According to the law of Moses he would have been justified in killing her for adultery and if he had he would have killed an innocent woman and her child (who of course was actually the Son of God), but instead he thought to handle the matter privately and not make her a public example. His deferred anger allowed God time to send an angel to him to inform him of the truth of the matter and he instead took Mary as his wife. Because of the discretion he used in handling the situation God said it was proof he was a just man.
Even in our criminal justice system justice is served by the delay of an execution to give time for appeal. If it were not so many innocent and many unjustly accused and convicted people would be put to death. We go to great expense to give murderers their appeals and it is often questioned as to how long the delay between sentence and execution should be. Our society (American) has decided that the delay is indefinite until the appeals be exhausted so that in each and every case the highest court be able to review the case. During that time there is an opportunity for more evidence to come to light and more witnesses to come forward which may exonerate the convict. Some conservatives think this long process is unnecessary and perhaps it is in many cases which are seemingly simple and well evidenced, and that the long process is extraordinarily expensive and certainly it is, but it is evidence that we are a just society and a Christian one.
Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
Deuteronomy 22:23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; 24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you. 25 But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die: 26 But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter: 27 For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.
Matthew 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. 18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. 21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. 23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. 28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. 32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For every man shall bear his own burden.
Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil.
Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Philippians 2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
1 Thessalonians 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. 14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
2 Thessalonians 3:11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. 13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. 14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 16 Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.
1 Corinthians 6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? 4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. 5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? 6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. 7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? 8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.