Have you ever felt so angry it seemed like your blood was boiling? Did it feel like an unholy moment? Well, I have some good news for you. Anger is a God-given emotion. And He fully intends to equip us with the right tools to process its intensity.
When you inadvertently touch a dangerously hot stove top, your nerves instantly send a warning to your brain. In less than a second, your brain responds with a command. In response, your hand jerks away from that injurious surface.
Anger is like that. God gave it to us as a signal. It immediately warns us that something is wrong. Harm is taking place, and we urgently need to address it. We need to take measures to ensure our own well-being.
Today’s passage from Psalms lays out for us what those measures are. Holy Spirit has given us five practical steps here. Let’s take a good look at each one.
- “Be angry.” Recognize that your feelings are legitimate. God says it’s okay to feel angry. He gave you that emotion. Yes. You have been mistreated.
- “Do not sin.” This is perhaps the most challenging part. Make an urgent decision not to act on your anger. Don’t lash out. Don’t say that juicy word on the tip of your tongue, begging for expression. Don’t push “send” on the angry text message you just typed. Don’t slam the door and storm out of the room. Don’t even sigh loudly and roll your eyes. Bite your tongue if you have to. Whatever it takes, don’t let your anger control you in that critical moment.
- “Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.” Here Holy Spirit is inviting you to process your feelings with Him. You need to get still with Him so you can do this properly. Stuffing your frustration or trying to ignore it and just “push through” is not the right answer. He wants you to pour out your heart to Him in the quiet place. You legitimately need the opportunity to express your hurt. Tell Him exactly how you feel. Vent to Him. Let it all out, in prayer. Use the eyes of your heart to focus on Him listening intently and receiving the contents of your heart with deep compassion.
- “Offer the sacrifices of righteousness.” In this case, your anger is the sacrifice He is asking for. Give it to Him. Surrender to Him your desire to get back at that individual. Lay on the altar your urge to put them in their place, to make them feel bad for hurting you. Give over to Him that overwhelming urge to convince that person of how wrong they are. Relinquish your cause to the Righteous Judge. Entrust to Him the working out of justice. See yourself letting go of your case, and Him taking it up.
- “Trust in the Lord.” Make a decision to trust Him completely with this situation so close to your heart. He is the way maker. He is the righter of wrongs. He is the softener of hard hearts, the mover of mountains, and the worker of the impossible. You can trust Him. He will do it. It may not be as quickly as you would like, but He will “make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun” (Ps. 37:6, NIV).
Humanly speaking, this godly handling of anger is indeed impossible. But with God, nothing is impossible. Remember, mercy triumphs over judgment. You can overcome evil will good, because good is exceedingly more powerful than evil. In every one of these five steps, cry out for the Holy Spirit’s help and empowering. As you steadfastly invite Him into your painful circumstance, over the long haul, He will work for your good in ways that will flabbergast you!
Psalm 18:7 talks about God getting angry when we are hurt. Does it help to understand that He gives us permission to feel angry too?