Just blowing off steam? Warning: Venting may be dangerous

Proverbs 29: 11 Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.

Ouch! This verse was part of the 16th month of my daily reading plan entitled, “Read through the Bible in One Year.”

It felt as if it hit me right between the eyes. How many times have I said, “I just need to vent for awhile?” This phrase inevitably gives me permission to say anything that comes to my mind or that I’m currently feeling in my heart. It allows me to relish in how good it feels or tastes coming out of my mouth. Anger or gossip can sometimes taste like a double chocolate brownie with ice cream and fudge can’t it?

There are plenty of times as a wife, mother and friend that my husband, kids or other mom’s step on my toes, disagree with me, make me mad or just think contrary to what I think and that makes me need to “vent” once in awhile. That’s fair, right?

Venting is defined in the dictionary as a:

verb

1 give free expression to (a strong emotion):

  2 provide with an outlet for air, gas, or liquid

Although the first definition is probably more correct, the second is probably more accurate. When we “vent” about other people to other people, it is a dangerous and foolish practice and yet enticingly easy. Let’s face it, most of the time it is just plain fun. Venting will, however careful you do it, destroy someone else’s character and just as certainly start to destroy yours as well.

Personally, I struggle with feasting on venting and gossip, especially when I can specifically target another person for my frustrations. When I can use a few minutes to cut someone else to the core and serve them up on a platter for my own enjoyment, it provides me an outlet for hot air and noxious gas and has an unflattering direct connection to my true character.

The problem with venting is the gas…the smell…the pollution it creates. When you feel the need to vent, take it to the Lord. The Father, your Father in Heaven wants to hear about your frustrations and He wants to help you through your relationships. And when you vent to Him, you don’t put yourself or anyone else in danger. He will protect your lips and heal your heart. He will make you wise and keep you from foolishness. It’s a hard, hard remedial lesson that I need to learn and learn and relearn. I wish I could say, “I’ve got this one in the bag” but I don’t. The Bible has a way of pushing right on the spots of my heart that are soft and bruised and need healing.

 

2 comments

  • Jan Ingram

    Thanks for the important reminder!! So easy to get caught up in “venting” when society sees it as “psychotherapy”. Like pastor Ron said yesterday our source of frustration can be eased if we bring it to God. I think writing a journal or prayer journal is a better way to “vent” to God because at a later time we can go back and reread our thoughts and see how God takes care of us. Thanks always for your words of encouragement! !

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