How to Properly Be Angry - Encouragement for Today - March 11, 2019

Karen Ehman

March 11, 2019
How to Properly Be Angry

“Be angry and do not sin; on your bed, reflect in your heart and be still. Selah” Psalm 4:4 (CSB)

When I was a young girl, I would dream about being married someday. My neighbor Ann and I spent afternoons on my front porch with our Barbie dolls, taking turns sharing the dolls and creating all kinds of conversations between Barbie and Ken.

Sometimes the duo spent a quiet evening at home. Other times they ventured off in the fancy aqua camper on an exciting summer vacation. Or perhaps they splashed around in the make-shift Tupperware swimming pool. But one thing they never did? They never got angry at each other.

The husbands and wives I saw on television rarely fought, either. Or, if they did, the conflict was resolved within 30 minutes. I surmised my future relationship with my husband would also be happy and harmonious.

Fast forward to my actual marriage.

I’ll admit there have been a few times I’ve had a severe case of buyer’s remorse. Or I guess more accurately, "bridal remorse." All I know is that this "Happily Ever After" stuff isn’t always so happy after all, and I had no idea how to properly be angry. In real life, couples don’t always get along. Sometimes they get tangled up in an all-out spat. Why, they might even do this so loudly that when the windows in the house are open, it gives all the neighbors who are just trying to enjoy their evening meal both dinner and a show!

Put two human individuals together, particularly in a marital relationship, and there will be conflict. Sure, at first there was a spark in your eye for each other, kindling the flames of love. Later on, the sparks still fly in the throes of a heated debate!

I love how the Bible shoots straight with us about relationships. Our Father made us. He knows us. He realizes there will be times we get angry at those closest to us, especially our spouses. God’s Word gives us advice about what to do when someone’s behavior bugs us and when we’re tempted to allow that anger to well up in our hearts and then snipe out of our mouths.

Today’s key verse, Psalm 4:4, directs us to: “Be angry and do not sin; on your bed, reflect in your heart and be still. Selah. In the original Hebrew language, the phrase “be angry” means to be agitated or perturbed. When we experience this type of irritated anger, it needs an outlet. Usually we direct that anger outward, using unkind words. Or we adopt an icy demeanor, clamming up and holding a grudge. Both approaches aim the anger at the other person.

However, this verse redirects us so we can avoid wrong and sinful behavior: Go inward. Reflect in your heart and “be still.” This phrase in Hebrew means, “To speak to your own mind, heart and will, ceasing from any outward speech or motion.” It also has overtones of commanding your own heart, perhaps bossing it around or calming it down.

When we take our anger to God, pondering, praying and processing with the Lord in our own minds and hearts before we express frustration, we can more calmly approach the conversation. Perhaps this will help diffuse a fiery fight before those first sparks start to fly.

Let’s stop expecting a perfect marriage. Instead, we need to realistically expect that we’ll get angry sometimes. And deal properly and promptly with that anger, reflecting silently in our own hearts before the Lord, rather than lashing out in an unloving manner.

Father, help me know where to go with my anger, taking it to You and processing it in my own heart and mind rather than reacting outwardly in a sinful way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Ephesians 4:26-27, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” (ESV)

Are you wanting to improve your marriage? Whether you’re in a season of trial or just want to break free from the mundane, don’t miss our next Online Bible Study, Keep Showing Up: How to Stay Crazy in Love When Your Love Drives You Crazy by Karen Ehman. Learn how to embrace your husband’s strengths and work on your own weaknesses, become a faithful forgiver, and let your frustrations drive you to Jesus. The study begins April 1. [JOIN US!]

To celebrate Karen’s latest release Keep Showing Up as the next P31 OBS, she’s giving five people each two copies of the book. If you win, you can invite a friend to join the online Bible study with you! Head to Karen’s Instagram to enter.

When you feel agitated, angry or perturbed, what’s usually your first response? How can the directives in Psalm 4:4 help you to respond differently in the future?

Join the conversation, and let us know some ways you’d like to respond differently to someone close to you when you’re angered.

{Editor’s Note: Today’s devotion is meant to encourage anyone facing typical frustrations within a healthy marriage. However, we know that 1 in 4 women report facing domestic violence or abuse. To get confidential, anonymous help or practical next steps to help a friend, call 1-800-799-7233 (-SAFE) or visit this website.}

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Zondervan for their support of P31 Online Bible Studies and Encouragement for Today devotions.

© 2019 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105

Originally published Monday, 11 March 2019.