Psalm 4:4 In your anger do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
The differences between the NIV and the Japanese for this verse really struck me just now. The Japanese, rendered back into English, would be, “Be fearfully respectful, and do not commit sin. On your bed, speak to your own heart and be silent.” Checking other translations, that’s actually very close to the KJV. I have heard the NIV used numbers of times in sermons about anger management, but the original may have nothing to do with our anger, but rather with remembering that God is God. It is true that the less we remember God’s sovereignty the more easily we get worked up over things, feeling like we’re supposed to be in control. Actually, it’s a very good thing that we’re not in control, because we don’t see all the ramifications and consequences of each action, but God does. There is the famous illustration of a butterfly flapping its wings eventually leading to a hurricane in another part of the world. Whether that could happen literally is beside the point; actions often have far-reaching unintended consequences. That’s why Jesus told us to pray that God’s will be done, (Matthew 6:10) and He Himself prayed that way in extreme circumstances. (Matthew 26:39) To get back to the subject of anger management, it’s not that anger in itself is bad, it’s that too often it is rooted in our own pride and or convenience. When we see things that are clearly in violation of God’s character and will, as expressed in His Word, then anger is quite appropriate, as Jesus expressed when He made a whip and drove the merchants out of the temple. (John 2:13-17) However, anger takes quite a toll on us emotionally and even physically, from all the hormones involved. Fearing/respecting God and submitting everything to Him is wise in every situation.
I do get angry but I don’t like it, which can make me angry that I’m angry! I am as much in need of submitting everything to God as anyone else. I find that when I am angry or otherwise emotionally upset that I am far more vulnerable to temptations that otherwise I would resist immediately. That can get dangerous! I am to recognize my own weaknesses and remember that God alone is not weak at all, and release everything to Him. Just last night I was rather worked up over Microsoft being sure they are smarter than we are and not allowing us to do what we need to do with our computers/networks, and the devil hit me with a suggestion/temptation. Fortunately I recognized it for what it was and rejected it, but my being worked up had made me vulnerable. As a pastor I deal with people constantly who are worked up over various things. I am to point every one of them to God, and remind every believer of the Lord’s Prayer and what it means. When we pray that from our hearts it takes care of practically everything!
Father, thank You for this very practical Word. I know I’ll have opportunity to share it personally in the very near future! Help me live it out consistently myself, so that I may be an increasingly effective agent of Your will being done on this earth, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!