Understanding Anger and Honor

“Fools!” “You all are fools. You’re all idiots. Fools. Arrgh…” And the words went on as this lady became hysterical on the train that I was traveling on. Although her words seemed to be directed at everyone on the train, her anger was focused on one elderly couple who said “Shh” to her son. The little boy happened to be jumping up and down and running around the train while most passengers were resting quietly.

Eventually her words and her anger subsided while everyone remained silent. No one responded to her outrage – it was completely ignored.

The psalmist said “Be angry and do not sin: ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent (Psalm 4:4). Although we may have used this verse many times, there are important factors we need to grasp. The true and basic issue that triggered the anger may be the breach of our honor. “O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies” (v.2)? The psalmist said that his honor was turned to shame.

As humans we wish to be honored and respected for who we are. When that inner desire is denied and violated, we attempt to protect ourselves. As our vulnerability becomes evident, our response turns to anger. It was in the context of honor that the psalmist said “Be angry, and do not sin” (v4).

He follows up with an appeal to recognize God and to trust Him. The unreliable nature of those around us ought to turn us to God rather than turning us to anger.

As the lady on the train went on with her words, it was clear that she probably grew up with lots of rejection. All of those unresolved issues might have caused her to become such an “explosive” person.

Maybe not just her. Maybe you too. Maybe me too. We all want to be honored and respected for who we are.

Instead of turning to anger, let’s turn to God, and put our trust in him. He understands, because many misunderstood him. The Bible says “He came to his own, and they did not understand him” (John 1:9-12).

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