“Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.”
—Psalm 4:4 ESV
Be angry and do not sin.
This phrase teaches us two things. First, anger (by itself) is not a sin. Emotions like anger that we typically label “negative” are not bad in and of themselves. Rather, like the warning lights on the dashboard of a car, they are simply evidence of what is happening in our soul.
Second, this passage teaches us that our anger can become something “good” or “bad” based on how we handle it.
How can we be angry and not sin? David’s advice in Psalm 4:4-5 is this: “Ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Offer right sacrifices and put your trust in the Lord.”
First, instead of bottling up our anger until we explode in rage or letting it fester until we are filled with resentment, we should “ponder in [our] own heart” what is making us angry.
Second, instead of letting our anger lead us to rash actions we should take our feelings before God in prayer and worship (right sacrifices), and find rest in a position of trust in the Lord.
Never ignore or deny the reality of your emotions; only by accepting them, reflecting on them and offering them to God can you process your emotions in a healthy way.
Here’s a short prayer to carry with you today:
Breathe in: Lord, I won’t deny my anger.
Breathe out: Let it lead me to you.