“But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.
Be angry and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts and on your beds and be silent.
Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.”
Psalm 4:3-5 ESV
Anger is a part of life. It is an emotion we feel. It is also an emotion God feels. We are often taught and told that anger is wrong. Anger itself is not wrong or sinful. It is what we do with our anger. Anger has the power to create immense hurt, brokenness, chaos and foolishness. It also has the potential to stir in our hearts a passion to move in a way that brings justice – to right wrongs, to act and speak for those who are powerless to do so on their own.
God’s Word says,
“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger” Ephesians 4:26
“Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger” James 1:19
“Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools” Ecclesiastes 7:9
“Good sense makes on slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11
“Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” Proverbs 16:32
Is it ok to be angry? Absolutely.
Is it best to speak, stand and act in that anger? Even if it is for a just cause… I say… no.
Not in the heat of the moment.
When we respond out of anger our feelings and emotions often have the reigns to our words and actions. Our intentions may be perfectly good and right, but what matters equally as much as our intentions is our ability to gracefully, bravely, competently, and articulately communicate our passion, stance and point.
What if you are sinned against? What if someone wrongs you, misperceives you, intentionally hurts you or others… and you have every right to be angry and offended? By our cultures standards you have every right and entitlement to speak, to stand, to fight back… to be angry.
Friends! This blew my mind when I came across it the other day. It is perfect instruction and absolute wisdom. Psalm 4 is a precise and simple guide for how to respond when we feel angry.
“1. Be angry and do not sin;
2. ponder in your own hearts on your beds,
3. and be silent.”
4. offer right sacrifices
5. AND PUT YOUR TRUST IN THE LORD.”
Then the Lord Responds
- He will show you His goodness. He will lift the light of His face upon you v.6
- He will put joy in your heart v.7
- “In peace you will both lie down and sleep; for you alone O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” v.8
This is how we should respond to anger. He is just and trustworthy. After we have spent time pondering, silent, desiring to do what is right (even if it costs us)… Then, in the days that follow if the Holy Spirit prompts you to speak up for those who have no voice, or stand up against something unjust, or move to action to defend a person or a cause – You are able to do it out of righteous conviction and calling (as opposed to emotional passion and untrustworthy perceptions and feelings), trusting that in the end the all things on this earth are the Lord’s to preside over, to judge, to make right. “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengence is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19
He is the one who moves. Do you trust that He is just? Do you trust and believe that He will fight for you to make things right?
Sometimes He moves through us, other times it is in His own timing and way – far beyond our comprehension.
For us to discern our part in the process takes self discipline of our emotions and thoughts. It also takes quality face time before the Lord – time spent literally on our faces bowed down in reverence and in prayer asking for wisdom, truth and that we would hear the Holy Spirit louder than our pride, our fear and any other voices.
The beautiful, unwavering truth about God is that He always answers. Prayer is often the process that aligns our hearts, minds and purpose with His sovereign and perfect plan. His desire is to lavish wisdom on His children. Ask for it and wait for Him. That requires the practice of praying and then pausing to also listen. That’s when the Spirit of God has whispered things like the following to me when I am processing anger, hurt or offense:
“Be still, I will fight for you.”
“Lavish love beyond your capacity, you can do it because my Spirit lives in you and I am faithful. Trust me.”
“True grace bends down and scoops up the undeserving with love that overlooks offense. (Thank you Jesus for your example of this!!!)”
“Pray for her.”
“Leave it here, this burden is not for you to carry.”
“Wait for me.”
“Create space for healthy boundaries”
“Rachel, for the love, get yourself out of the way and trust me with this.”
“Move to action”
“Speak now – be brave, my Spirit will give you the words you need.”
“Do what is right. Not what is easy.”
“Forgive. Forgive. Forgive.”
How have you seen Him move on your behalf?
Have you experienced His justice?
Are you wrestling with God? Waiting for Him to answer you?
Is there some way that we can gather around you and pray for you as you process anger, hurt, injustice or offense?
Let us know. WE will pray – and believe on your behalf, that you will see His goodness and that He will lift the light of His face upon you (Psalm 4:6).
On this journey of being human right alongside you,