This verse caught my attention a few weeks ago. My temper, though nothing like it used to be, causes me more trouble than I like to admit. My tongue can fly off when I feel irritated and wronged, and usually on those I love the most. I wasn't searching for anything related to anger in my reading that day, but God knew I needed to hear it and what He's shown me has been hard to swallow, but so freeing. This is by no means the world's way of dealing with anger and offense. It's God's way, and that's why it works. It doesn't glorify us, but requires us to humble ourselves and love the ones who hurt us (just like He did). When I want to go deeper in study word by word in the Bible, I use the Strong's Concordance app on my iPad, and that's where the references and definitions today come from. Here we go!
So I pulled up Strong's and started with the "stand in awe" phrase.
-"Stand in awe" [H7264]: to quiver (with any violent emotion, esp. anger or fear), be afraid, fret, quake, rage, tremble, be wroth (very angry, exasperated).
Yep, I could identify with more than a few of those. Can you? Have the actions and words of others ever made you "stand in awe"...and not in a good way? It's OKAY to feel those things listed above. But anger is not a license to sin. I'm still held accountable for the things I say when I'm all fired up. When I read those words, I thought of Cain. I won't get all into the story, but he didn't give God his best and when God received his brother (who did give his finest) and not him, he was outraged. And God gave him an escape from his rage and the temptation it brought. Like the loving Father He is, he said "Why are you angry? And why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at your door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it." (Gen. 4:6-7) But Cain refused to lay down his anger, and it cost his brother's life. No, my anger may not cause me to murder someone. But how much bloodshed have I caused with my words? Am I cutting them down in my heart and mind? That matters. John said whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and no murderer has eternal life in him. (1John 3:15) It's a big deal.
So, what does David say to do when we are outraged? How can we still bring glory to God in our ugliest moments?
-"Commune with" [H559]: answer, certify, challenge, consider, declare, speak (against, of)
When my emotions are all tangled and messy. When I feel overcome with rage, fear, worry, frustration, as a child of God I'm instructed to take a seat, and search my own heart. Why? Because I cannot change another person's words or actions, much less their heart. But I can determine what effect the situation will have on my own. No matter how wronged I have been, or how entitled I feel to my anger, I am not who I used to be. I've been forgiven of much, and am called to forgive much--and people definitely give the opportunity to practice. I have to examine myself, my own motives, and ask God to do the same and reveal things I can't see in the heat of my emotion. Tell God exactly what you're feeling and why, He can handle it. Consider the condition of the other person/people involved, what do they have going on in their lives that may cause them to act this way? Pray for them. It's hard to be angry with someone when you're crying out to God on their behalf. Speak against sin, bitterness, and offense. Speak of the depths to which God has forgiven and loved us, especially when we were completely underserving; of the fact that our redemption is only by His goodness and mercy and kindness, and He empowers us to extend that to others. This is how we, children of God, are told to deal with these feelings. It brings so much glory to God, it sets us apart, and ultimately brings peace.
Here's my favorite part though...
-"And be still" [H1826]: to be dumb (awe), to stop, to cease, hold peace, quiet self, rest, keep silent, wait.
Once I've hashed it all out with God and myself, reasoned with my own heart, prayed for the other person, I should be at peace. If not, go back and repeat. ;) Hold your peace. Let Him heal you. Rest and pray and be confident that the Lord will handle it. When it comes to offense, consider yourself dumb to it. God casts our sins as far as the east it from the west (Psalm 103:12), ask Him to help you cast the offense of your brother or sister the same way. I think it's funny how this meaning also has the word "awe" in it. It's almost like it goes like this: Stand in awe (of the magnitude of the situation and your anger)
Commune with God and your own heart
Stand in awe (of how awesome He is and the love He's shown to you)
**I know this isn't easy. I'm no where close to mastering it. But I'm on a mission to not be enslaved to my temper. Offenses come, and I don't want to minimize anyone's pain. Sometimes we have to just lay ourselves at the cross and let Him heal over and over again. Forgiveness isn't always easy (7x70!). But my point here is that it's God's will for us to work towards reconciliation, not hold onto our pride and grudges. Don't be discouraged if you're not "over it" in a day. Wait and keep communing with God and yourself. He can heal and redeem even the most broken of relationships and situations.
Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each others faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. ~Colossians 3:12-14