Pondering for Thursday, September 1, 2022

Daily Office Readings for Thursday of Proper 17: Year 2

Morning, Psalm 37:1-18; Evening, Psalm 37:19-42

Job 16:16 to 22,17:1,13 to 16Acts 13:1 to 12; and John 9:1 to 17

“Refrain from anger, leave rage alone; do not fret yourself; it leads only to evil.”  (Psalm 37:9)

Psalm 37 says a lot about what will happen to the wicked and how God will deal with them. This Psalm also advises us regarding doing good deeds.  Verse 9 however gives good counsel regarding our hateful emotions.

We get angry at others from time to time; why?  What makes us want to feel really bad about another?  How long does it take for such a feeling to pass, if they pass? 

When we are angry, what does it take to discipline ourselves to not act on such anger?  Can we separate our anger from our resultant words and/or action?  Saint Paul says, “be angry but do not sin.”  To the Church in Ephesus he writes, “So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another.  Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil.  Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy.  Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:25 to 29)

I think the Psalmist is correct, anger and rage lead only to evil.  The word “regret” comes to mind. Some tools to prevent regret is the standard “count to ten.” I had one friend who suggested, “stop and wind your watch, even if it’s not required.”  I think the point is to force yourself to occupy your mind with something else, and do it quickly.  Once a few seconds have passed you will realize how thankful you are that you didn’t say or do something regretful.

Maybe a short prayer or a short Bible verse like “Refrain from anger, leave rage alone; do not fret yourself; it leads only to evil,” will work just fine.

Moreover, maybe many short prayers will cause God to intervene in the anger against Ukraine. I pray it does.

As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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