The engine of anger often starts as someone inserts your key in the ignition of your emotional engine by offending you, disregarding you and even unfairly or unjustly hurting you or your reputation. They might push themselves into your interior space of the vehicle of your life by taking over your personal career place and position themselves in the comfort zone you have adjusted to your seating preferences. They may even tell you, “You know nothing about driving or maintaining this vehicle” or say unkind, disrespect and completely dishonest things about you. They may even sabotage the vehicle of your life and void your plans to do certain things and go certain places. They may try to take your vehicle by misrepresentation and manipulation and finally they may steal your precious and classic means of transportation only to crash and destroy it. Their haunting words will then hang in the air mocking and taunting us as we stand with our hearts severely dented and damaged. Midst the broken and dangerous glass, there seems little hope of your vehicle being usable again.
At this point, we might hear the engine still running and we see the wheels are still round and remember the fuel tank is quite full of potential to inflict revenge and retaliation. As we look and assess the damage, feeling the pain involved in every detail and aspect of the injustice of this incident … we might ponder the actions we could take to inflict greater damage and pain on the perpetrator of this awful mess. Anger is roiling up in us and we sense the power we have to take our rightful revenge and retaliation.
We have all been at this accident scene. Someone has wrecked the vehicle we were driving at the time and caused damage to what was important and valuable to us. We have all been crushed in our hearts and experienced the damage to our lives. We were angry. We have all sensed the power we might have in the engine of angry retaliation as we pondered our actions. We may have even been overpowered and taken the course of retaliation only to find we are the ones that were damaged further in our seemingly rightful revengeful actions.
David suffered tremendous emotional damage and heart searing pain as his very son, Absalom attempted to steal his rightful kingdom by taking over his position as King. It was a horrible incident to see unfold and even more painful to behold as we see David deeply weeping, scarred and crushed in the consequences of the aftermath.
Still in the midst of Absalom’s rebellion, David realized that he must shut down the engine of anger and retaliation. No matter what Absalom had done to him and even though David might be angry; David decides wisely to turn off the desire to inflict revenge and destroy his son. His words written centuries ago remind us to shut down any engines of revenge and retaliation, we may find ourselves near. We ponder on the ways of God and not on our feelings of anger. We are quiet in our spirit as we let God quiet us with His peace. We pray for His guidance. The damage that revenge and retaliation inflicts will often bring more pain and hurt and some of it will come back upon us. It is far better to trust in the Lord.
“Be angry and do not sin, ponder in your heart on your bed and be silent. Offer right sacrifices and put your trust in the Lord” (Psalm 4:3-4, ESV).
Suggested Reading … Psalm 4