‘”Be angry and do not sin; on your bed, reflect in your heart and be still.” Psalm 4:4
Be angry and do not sin. Those were always a puzzling string of words to me. I read something more about it the other day that made sense to me so I wanted to elaborate on it with you. It goes something like this…do not sin by letting anger…control you. We are advised here to think about what is causing our anger before falling asleep and if we wake in the night, to think about it again; all while being silent/still/waiting.
We are always ill-advised when we decide to indulge our anger by allowing symptoms of murmuring, rebelling, and sinning to occur. I love this wording, “seasonably suppress and mortify your unadvised and sinful passion, lest it breaks forth to your ruin.” (Benson) The clause ‘be angry and do not sin’ may be rendered, ‘Be moved’, (namely, in opposition to carelessness and carnal security) ‘and sin not’. This is important and instructive advice and an exhortation to all. “One principal means of preserving us from sin is to have our hearts properly affected with divine things, especially with the fear and love of God, with a holy reverence of his glory, in awe of His majesty, and a dread of His justice and wrath.” (Benson)
Do you commune or reflect on the condition of your heart while upon your bed? We are to calmly and deeply consider our conduct from the day and what we have done amiss while in the silent of the night in order to bring calmer and wiser thoughts forth. If we are in the habit of composing our tumultuous minds and passions and examining the state of our heart and lives we should then anticipate the answer of our consciences. You should ask yourself if your thoughts and plans meet divine approval? The verse does not advise us to lay on our bed and fume, to wall off our hearts, or to rehearse future sinful thoughts. The notion presented is to question YOUR behavior (no one else’s) and honestly look for the errors. Be ready to repent as opposed to running through a litany of excuses to cover your thoughts and behaviors. Let’s instead ask, “Is my heart at rest? Is my spirit void of fear? Is any guilt oppressing me?” If you awake during the night, meditate upon God, and the peace that comes only through Him.
How much better off would we be if we did not take the counsel of evil advisers or the counsel of our own will and passions but instead consulted our better feelings, our generous emotions, the Word of Truth, the Spirit of the Living God, and acted accordingly?
Let’s move to another idea. You have heard of ‘premeditated murder’. Premeditated is defined by Merriam Webster as that ‘characterized by fully conscious willful intent and a measure of forethought and planning’. We also know ‘premeditation’ regarding sin can occur as a result of yielding to anger and therefore allowing wicked thoughts to be stirred. If we get into the practice of following the advice of Psalm 4 this dangerous premeditation will cease. We can do this.
“You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” Matthew 5:21-22a
The word translated judgment both times in the Matthew verse above is the Greek word ‘krisis’. (Does it remind you of our English word crisis?) Krisis is defined by Strongs as a decision (subjectively or objectively, for or against); by extension, a tribunal; by implication, justice (especially, divine law): — accusation, condemnation, damnation, judgment.
Let’s hear this loud and clear: the working of divine judgment is used regarding acts of murder as well as regarding anger towards a brother. Just to be sure, a ‘brother’ is a fellow believer in Christ. So this ‘brother’ can be your spouse, child, neighbor, parent, or sibling. Do we really want to subject ourselves to God’s judgment??? Satan has cleverly convinced us to IGNORE THIS. We have bought the lie that it is fine to have anger stewing in us and have disconnected the notion that our out-of-step-with-the-Truth actions come as a result of this stewing anger. Let’s wise up DIVAs. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus, only opportunities for change.
Last night I heard the old phrase, to err is human to forgive is divine. To be human means we will make errors but God has offered to cover us in His grace so that we are able to step out in a divine act and forgive. Have you ever considered forgiveness as a divine act? Maybe if we did we would practice this grace more often. It is an incredibly powerful tool.
Challenge: Let’s try ‘reflecting in your heart and being still’ for 3 nights in a row. See if the counsel of the Word does not bring revelation and truth to your life. God is faithful.
In His grace,