“4 Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.
5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And put your trust in the Lord.”
Emotions are powerful. Love, fear and even anger can consume and even control our emotions. No matter how strong our feelings may be, Psalm 4:4 reminds us that we are still responsible for our actions. We are reminded not to sin even if we are consumed by anger.
This may sound very simple to some people, but it is a difficult challenge. There is pain in every person’s life. Sooner or later, there will be a time when you will have to make some decisions while experiencing heavy emotions. How do we control ourselves? We are to “meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.” Instead of focusing on our anger and feelings, we should act responsibly and focus on the word of God. Pray and act according to God’s plan.
An archer focuses on his target as he draws back the bow. He feels the tension and the power in the bow and the muscles in his arms. It would be easy for him to let the arrow fly in any direction, but he has a target that requires him to be still and take aim before the ultimate action of releasing the arrow. Also if our archer friend allowed himself to think of other things, he could easily miss his target altogether! Likewise, when we experience the high tension of emotion, we cannot “just let loose” or to focus on the wrong target. If we do either on, someone is liable to get hurt.
It is OK to be angry, only “do not sin.” Focus. fill your mind and soul with the word of God. Allow your heart and imagination to be swept away by the wisdom and colourful events recorded in Scripture. Like a good bath, you will want to just sit and to soak in it. “Be still” for a little while. [“Selah.”]
Sometimes, just doing nothing is the best thing you can do if it prevents you from sinning (or someone else getting hurt because of your actions.)
Do the right thing, even when life is painful. It can seem like a big sacrifice not to be drawn away by your emotions and to follow Christ. That is why verse 5 reminds us to “Offer up the sacrifices of righteousness.” Our sacrifice is doing the right thing instead of the thing that feels right. By trusting our emotions too much, we can easily fall into sin.
Emotions are God-given indicators of what we perceive happening around us. They contribute to our awareness of what is happening in a moment. They are an important part of being human. However, we can also misinterpret our emotions or feel an emotion that is based on a half-truth. When we feel emotional, it is helpful to take a moment to ask” is what I am feeling accurate?” Or what does this say about me?” And “Am I angry about something that is worth being angry about?” I am a humble Evangelist and certainly not a psychotherapist. But taking a moment to understand feelings will save us from a lot of heartache.
This is what it means to “put your trust in the LORD.” Trust the word of God more than your emotions. Hearts are easily deceived: the word of God cannot.
So does this have any place in evangelism?
Well, why do you evangelize? Why share the gospel? Is it because you are angry or because you love people like God loves them?
We can be angry at the devil. But love is the motivation for leading people to Jesus. We are to serve with out whole heart.
Jason is founder and evangelist for The Nations Hope and lead pastor of Life Tree Church in San Jose, California. He talks a lot.
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