Be Angry or Be Still?

“Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. ~ Selah. ~ Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 4:4-5)

We go to Church and hear sermons, we read books by great authors, we listen to teachings by great orators in order to try to grow in the knowledge of the Lord and to grow in grace . We learn so many wonderful and valuable lessons to help us along in life. However, often, the most valuable lessons we learn are the ones we learn the hard way.

While under enormous pressure the most ugly aspects of our character can rise to the surface when something goes wrong or if we feel mistreated. This was true for me while at Bible College (I will spare you the details, but we’ve all had times when we have been unfairly treated, or just had a bad day): The academic learning was great and helpful, but I learned a very valuable lesson while outside of the classroom: One may have many valid grievances, but this does not give us the right to behave in an ungodly manner in reaction to them.

An alternative is offered through some of David’s thoughts and prayers in Psalm 4. It encourages us, that when we feel angry (Tremble) over an injustice, we are to do so without committing sin (and do not sin). We are allowed to be angry; but we must not sin.

Consider Jesus: God’s Son, the King, the Creator of the universe; an innocent, sinless man, who was unjustly mocked, cruelly beaten and duly hung on a Roman Cross like a common criminal. How did He react to all this? He was able to say, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing”.

When treated unjustly, Psalm 4:4-5 encourages us to keep a close counsel (Meditate in your heart upon your bed), to let God work (be still cease striving, see Psalm 46:10) to act righteously (Offer the sacrifices of righteousness) and to (trust in the Lord). In other words: don’t sin in reaction to the situation; be patient and think through it carefully and determine if perhaps you might be at fault; behave in a right way to all concerned (which is always true); trust in the Lord, because He knows all about it and He probably wants to teach you something.

(NB:- It’s always good to remember that our character is of greater value and use to God than our intellect.)

If life is unjust, it was more so for Christ. He was perfect and yet bore the Cross for sins He did not commit, on our behalf. It was our sin which put Him there, not His. So, next time you feel unjustly treated, don’t take matters into your own hands, grumble or lose heart: remember Christ; remember that He did not react to His injustice, but instead bore it graciously and forgave.

“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;” (Ephesians 4:1-4)

Thankfully, God is gracious, and is mindful that we are but dust.

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