Psalm 4: 4
Be angry, and do not sin;
Ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.
David, who wrote this Hebrew couplet also wrote in Psalm 37, “Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” My personal experience is that I do better to obey Psalm 37 than to find a way to express my anger short of sinning. There must be a rare righteous indignation, but I have yet to experience it. The “A” line of a Hebrew couplet is often related to the “B” couplet in this fashion: “A what’s more, B.” The “B” line helps us to understand what David means in writing, “Be angry, and do not sin.” In the context of the “B” line, it means that the best way to be angry yet refrain from sinning is to keep your anger private. Uh Oh! Is David describing the destructive suppressed anger our counselors warn against? No, he is not recommending suppressed anger but noting that anger is rash. Were we to think first, we might find another response other than anger. We have been taught to think before we speak and now we are learning how to pause before we send an email. David would have us sleep on a troubling matter before any outburst. Continue reading »