In my kitchen, we have a vent over our stovetop. As in many modern houses, however, it is not really a "vent" at all. It does not send the smoke from our cooking out to the world, it just "vents" it back into the kitchen, having sent it through a filter of less than impressive qualifications. As a result, we never actually use it.

A vent, after all, ought to accomplish the task of eliminating the stuff being vented. The vent for my clothes dryer does not send the dryer air back into my house. The vents for the various plumbing equipment in my house do not send their fumes or methane gas back into my house. 

So, I know what a vent is. A vent is something that lets out what is bad without hurting anyone.

For some reason, however, modern Americans have decided that "venting" has a very different meaning in our families and in our homes. We have, in fact, decided to use "vent" to mean something totally different in our homes.

In our homes (and our businesses), we use the term "venting" to describe someone being very angry and yelling at people. We say someone is "venting" when they are abusive to their underlings. We say people "need to vent" when they lose their temper. This is really a foolish way to speak.


Because being angry, being abusive, and being mean to other people is never "venting." Venting takes something that is bad and puts it where it cannot hurt anyone. My dryer air and my home's methane gas are vented.

But, when we are angry, we "vent" by dumping on other people. We "vent" our anger by yelling at other people, often people who have nothing to do with what made us angry. We have even been told that we "need to vent" and husbands and wives are told they ought to "allow their spouse to vent" by being the object of their anger and bitterness.

We have this all backward. No one should ever be hurt by what is inside me. If "venting" means taking what bothers me and causing others to be bothered by it, then "venting" is just hurting other people for my own sake. Throwing a fit at my wife because of something that happened at work is just selfishness. It is not "venting," it is hurting someone else.

There is no person who "needs to vent" if venting means hurting the people they love. Your husband does not need to be the object of your "venting." You have no right to demand that he listen to your anger or your bitterness or your sarcasm.

The Bible tells me that I am to "weep with those who weep" and to "laugh with those who laugh." It never says I am to demand that others weep with me. It never says I am to live in such a way that what bothers me becomes a bother to others.

So, you are frustrated at work. Or, perhaps, you are frustrated at home. Do you "vent" when you are with your husband again? Do you waste time with the man who loves you by spending it being angry over something he did not do? 

Do I sometimes "vent"? Yes, when I am alone. I "vent" when I can release what is bad without hurting anything that is good. I will not vent to my wife, except when I am in sin. I will not vent to my children. I will not vent to my employees. 

I will not hurt someone else just to make myself feel better. Because, you know what, when I hurt someone else, I really don't feel better at all.

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