In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Selah – Psalms 4:4 (NIV)
There can be a lot to be angry about in this life – injustice, greed, hate, bigotry and other symptoms of that hideous disease called sin. There really isn’t a problem with the anger itself, but where it comes from and where it leads us. This is what the psalmist is warning us about. He is not asking us to guard against anger, but to have the right relationship with it.
I have a temper. If I had been irradiated with gamma rays instead of Dr. Bruce Banner, the Hulk would have been around a lot more often. That being said, God is patient and works on this with me with gentleness and persistence. He has worked on this most effectively through my children.
It isn’t so much that they give me all sorts of opportunities to get mad; they are wonderful girls and have blessed me more than I can say. But they do have their fallen moments. My love for them has created a new lens for me to see my anger through. When I feel that heat rising from my neck to my ears and my jaw clenches, I have to ask, “Is this really worth getting angry about?”
God knows exactly what to get angry about. His anger is always righteous and always deserved. I cannot say the same for mine. I have questionable motives. I have pet peeves which reveal more about my flaws than the object of my peeving. I would like my anger to reflect God’s anger, but unfortunately anger tends to be a door to stupid and not saintliness. So comes the warning from the psalmist. We have to be leery of our anger.
I have heard plenty of teachings on anger and too often they will look at God’s anger, or Jesus casting the moneychangers out of the temple and use that as a rationalization for angry Christianity. I even bought that for a while, but it doesn’t getting you anywhere good. This passage warns us to be wary when anger begins to rise in us and I think that is excellent advice. I don’t want to get angry at my children just because God got angry with His. I want my anger to be like God’s anger so that means I have to question it every time.
I know that I will get angry at my children again in the future (probably sooner than I’d like), and I want to be ready for that moment. I want to make sure that my anger does not lead me hurtful words, or misplaced blame. My children deserve the same patience, grace and compassion that God has given me, so anger has to be watched for and controlled. My kids don’t need the Hulk, they need Jesus, and that means anger has to get out of His way in my life.
Lord, help me to control and understand my anger. Help me to know where my anger is coming from and how to handle it when it rises. Give me a peaceable spirit, especially in disciplining my children. Amen.