Angry yes, Sinning no

Posted: July 9, 2015 in Thoughts on God

Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah
Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord. Psalm 4:4-5 

We are not called to a state of pulse-less passivity, no longer in possession of a backbone, lying down as our neighbor’s doormat. We live as people, redeemed people, but humans nonetheless. We feel the entire spectrum of God created emotion: sorrow and happiness, peace and discontent, love and disdain, fear, anger, and even more. David knew this, and we have numerous Psalms to prove it.

A man who lived well after David penned this fourth Psalm and felt these many emotions. Nehemiah, after dedicating the rebuilt wall of Jerusalem and completing an almost insurmountable task, left the city on business with King Artaxerxes. Upon his return he found the leadership had forsaken the Lord and was permitting unbelievers to live “in the courts of the house of God” (Nehemiah 13:7). Nehemiah’s response: “I was very angry” (Nehemiah 13:8). He even went on to threaten that if these people continued sinning he would “lay hands” on them (Nehemiah 13:21), and not in prayer! There is then a righteous anger that should exist in the heart of the redeemed. As with Jesus’ anger toward the money changers (John 2:15), and Paul’s anger toward false teachers (Galatians 5:12).

Anger is a right response to evil and injustice. It is a fine line however, between anger and hatred; deep seated resentment leads to hatred, and goes well beyond anger. So “be angry, and do not sin”, remembering that “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).

Examine the things in your life that bring you anger and test them against scripture. Are they rooted in hatred or a righteous heart?

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