Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And put your trust in the Lord.
Anger is a part of the human experience. We all feel it occasionally bubbling up within ourselves and have to figure out what to do with it. Like a switch, it can turn off the rational part of our brain, causing us to say and do things that we would not normally do. It drains us physically, taxing our willpower and making us feel ill due to increased blood pressure and tension. It’s not fun.
We also find ourselves on the receiving end of someone else’s anger from time to time. Whether we have done anything to deserve it or not, interacting with others means we will have to deal with the angry people. It can be frustrating, and ruin an otherwise good day.
Anger is a natural emotional response to the circumstances of life. God designed us to have this emotional capacity within us, yet the Bible repeatedly cautions us regarding how we cope with our anger. This is because anger is volatile, and can quickly take us to a place we do not want to be. So what should we do with our anger? Psalm 4 gives us a few tips as to what we can do to process our anger in a healthy manner:
- Do not sin — Whatever our response is to be, there must be limits to how far we will go. Even when we are in the midst of an emotional response, we still are responsible to live and move within the limitations of God’s laws. It’s important that you establish boundaries for yourself before emotions get high, because in the heat of the moment is not when you are likely to exercise restraint.
- Back off and keep things in perspective — Closely related to the first point is the ability to keep a proper perspective of the situation at hand. Sure, that other person mistreated you, or cut you off, or said something nasty on Facebook, but is it really worth the fight? Is rising to the challenge really going to have a positive impact on your day, circumstances or relationships? When we back up and take a “big picture” view of the situation, we’ll often find that the thing we are all worked up about is not as big a deal as it seems when we are in the middle of it.
- Do the right thing — Sometimes we have to force ourselves to do the right thing. It can be extremely difficult to do when we are upset, but we must stay true to the vision of character and integrity that God has called us to pursue. Sometimes we have to forgive and overlook an offense. Other times we have to follow through on commitments we have made long after the desire to do so has gone. God sees and rewards our faithfulness.
- Put your trust in the Lord — God has promised over and over in Scripture that he will take care of us. He sees when you have been wronged, and has promised judgment upon evildoers. Vengeance is his, another passage says. And in the meantime, he WILL provide for you and take care of anything you may need.
Anger is an issue that will have to be addressed, whether within yourself or others, and ensuring that we approach it in the correct way will help you to walk in the abundance of God’s blessing.
PRAYER: Father, thank you for providing wisdom on how to best live our lives. We desire to live in a holy and righteous manner, which means we must have a firm control of our emotions and responses. Help us to control our tongues, to maintain a heavenly perspective on our circumstances, and to choose righteousness when everything within us is screaming otherwise. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen!