An Anger Check
I was reading Psalm 106 this morning. Verses 32-33 caught my attention. Here is another insight God is giving us about anger. The two verses really are a repeat of each other showing the cause-effect behavior between the people and Moses. It goes like this:
The people angered God with their complaints and unbelief.
Things went “ill” or bad for Moses on account of them.
The people rebelled against God’s Spirit.
This caused Moses to speak rashly.
The people had done wrong. God was angry with them. Notice that the rebellion was against God. Moses was rightly grieved with them for their rebellion. However, he allowed their sin and rebellion to justify his anger, which caused him to speak rashly. It caused him to also act rashly. He disobeyed the Word of the Lord: He struck the rock rather than speaking to the rock. Isn’t this the way we often do?
Our anger at someone else’s wrong behavior causes us to speak and act rashly. In that moment of releasing our anger, we become just like the one or ones we’re angry with! The people were rebelling and disobeying God; and Moses, with his anger, also rebelled and disobeyed God. It cost him the Promised Land. God didn’t hold Moses to account for the people’s sin, but He did hold him to account for his own sin.
Let us remember and learn from this. For I Corinthians 10:6 says that “these things became our examples.” And in verse 11 it says again: These things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition.” Particularly in parenting, it is so easy for us to respond to our children’s disobedience with anger. In doing so, we become just like them. We speak and act rashly.
Here’s the truth of what these verses teach us:
Someone else’s disobedience
causes us to justify anger
which gives us an excuse to speak and act rashly,
which brings judgment on ourselves,
leading to great regret.
May we be warned by this and use anger triggers as warning lights: DANGER! DANGER! Beware in those moments to check your tongue and your actions. Pray and ask for insight in that trigger moment. Responding in anger to disobedience leads to rash words and actions that will later—at some point down the road, perhaps not immediately—bring regret.