“Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.” Psalm 4:4 NKJV
I recently found myself remembering an incident that happened a few years ago. The driver that transported my son to school brought him home and left him at an empty house. My five year-old son made the decision to go next door to see if his grandmother’s neighbor was there. She wasn’t. And that’s how my son ended up spending time with a random stranger – a woman who just happened to be standing at the house next door to my mother-in-law. She wasn’t a neighbor – she was just some woman who happened to be standing there when he drove up.
The driver had made no attempt to contact my son’s grandmother, his father, or myself. He didn’t even stop to get the woman’s name. He just dropped my son like a hot potato and drove away. Luckily my mother-in-law showed up a few minutes after he had left, and my son was secured with no ill effects. Needless to say, that gentleman was never asked to take my son anywhere again.
As you can imagine the entire family was mad and everyone wanted to tell that gentleman some choice words. Thankfully, temperance prevailed and we all decided that the loss of income for the transportation of our son was enough of a punishment (if it could even be called that).
Today’s scripture teaches us that it’s okay to be angry. Anger in itself is not a sin. It’s what we do in our anger or because of it that becomes sin. Instead of lashing out in our anger, we are encouraged to meditate on our beds and be still.
Let’s look at the three tips to handle our anger that is found in Psalm 4:4
- Be angry but do not sin – At first these two things may seem mutually exclusive. How can I can get angry and not sin? You may ask. A better question might be, “What do you do after you get angry?” Do you swear? Threaten? Bully? Intimidate? If your answer is yes to any of those you may want to find another way to handle your anger.
- Meditate within your heart on your bed – Sound silly at first because everyone knows that ‘meditating’ on one’s bed is just a smart way of saying sleep. Or is it? Another way of saying it would be, “Take your anger to God” – he can handle it. Search your motives. Why are you angry? Do the actions that you’re contemplating give glory to God?
- Be still – This is my favorite part of the verse because it reminds me of Psalm 46:10 ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ In the heat and passion of our anger it’s hardly likely that we’ll be seeing clearly. That’s why it’s so important to be still. We must quiet our hearts if we are to hear what God wants to whisper to us.
The next time you get angry about something I pray that you’ll remember this verse. It’s okay to be angry, it’s what you do in anger that may be considered a sin.