The scripture for today, April 4, is Psalm 4:4 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“In your anger do not sin.”
This seems like an impossibility. After all, when people get angry, don’t they lash out at other people? And yell and call them names? And show their temper? Maybe even throw a few things? After all, that’s the only way to get across to the other person that you are really angry.
Not so. If a child, for instance, does what s/he was just told not to do, we became angry. Angry at the dangerous consequence of their action. Angry at not doing something to make that child a better person.
We can choose to lash out at the child wildly so that our emotions mask our words. Or we can choose to talk calmly and explain the dangers that child was put in because of that action, or the missed opportunities. We can even punish a child without losing our temper. We can calmly but firmly tell them what their punishment is.
It is the same way with adults. If we lose our temper and shoot daggers with our eyes and rant and rave, all these things distract people from our words. Aren’t our words of explanation more important than the emotionalism and yelling? If we were hurt, just say so. If they hurt themselves, just say so.
While we’re at it, not all words help. Name calling does not help. Name calling is done when we choose not to explain how we feel. Name calling locks the other person in and sets them up for future failures between us and them. Losing our temper during anger gets us off the issue and into sin.
Let us try to remain calm and then explain the problem in tones that the person who has angered us can truly listen to and learn from. If we have trouble doing this, practice when we’re alone. It will come to us in the right way. It will teach us to remain calm when we’re are angry. When we are angry, we must not sin.