I fell for it. I didn’t really notice until I asked myself why I felt so agitated. I heard myself snap at my husband over some trivial matter. Later he (and a few others) had to listen to my rant about the way corrupt people with money and power are lying to the vulnerable and gullible. I picked up the nastiness in the atmosphere and, forgetting to get cleaned up after reading about systemic corruption in my country, I ran with it and added to the division.
I lost my peace.
One of the most important things I have learned in the past few years is that when I pray I need to remember who I am, to rest from striving and have confidence in the One to whom I pray — and to tune into His peace. In His presence I am content to trust. Covered by His righteousness, surrounded by His love, and secure in His goodness I can join in the way Jesus prays for a situation.
On my own I become angry. I rant about injustice, cover-ups, the abuse of power, the manipulation of people through fears and half-truths. On my own my best efforts contribute to the kind of division that delights the enemy of our souls. My own emotional reaction doesn’t work.
I thought about attitudes that counter anger and contention. I thought about peace and contentment as neutralizing weapons. But first I had to get cleaned up.
The essence of confession is this: Oh God, I was wrong. I’m sorry.
I was wrong to pick up the weapons of the author of contention. (I once heard in a dream, “You can contend without being contentious, you know.”) I was wrong for applying outrage instead of stepping into the place of confident security in The Truth and The Way.
My scheduled reading yesterday in Psalm 94 made me stop and think. So much of the upheaval we are experiencing comes down to the question, “Who is in control?”
You will be relieved to know it’s not me, nor can I tell God what to do. I can confess, get cleaned up, and step back into alignment with him though. Thank you, Lord, for forgiveness.
The scripture says the purposes of God are not achieved by the anger of man. My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen,[o] but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry, for human anger is never a legitimate tool to promote God’s righteous purpose. (James 1:19, 20)
Prayer is more powerful than any demonstration of anger. God’s plan of revenge is first a heart transformed by love, but he will not tolerate forever those who hurt his children.
The Lord has fully examined every thought of man
and found them all to be empty and futile.
Lord Yah, there’s such a blessing that comes
when you teach us your word and your ways.
Even the sting of your correction can be sweet.
It rescues us from our days of trouble
until you are ready to punish the wicked.
For the Lord will never walk away from his cherished ones,
nor would he forsake his chosen ones who belong to him.
Whenever you pronounce judgments, they reveal righteousness.
All your lovers will be pleased.
Lord, who will protect me from these wicked ones?
If you don’t stand to defend me, who will? I have no one but you!
I would have been killed so many times
if you had not been there for me.
When I screamed out, “Lord, I’m doomed!”
your fiery love was stirred and you raced to my rescue.
Whenever my busy thoughts were out of control,
the soothing comfort of your presence
calmed me down and overwhelmed me with delight.
It’s obvious to all; you will have nothing to do
with corrupt rulers who pass laws that empower evil
and defeat what is right.
For they gang up against the lovers of righteousness
and condemn the innocent to death.
But I know that all their evil plans will boomerang back onto them.
Every plot they hatch will simply seal their own doom.
For you, my God, you will destroy them,
giving them what they deserve.
For you are my true tower of strength,
my safe place, my hideout, and my true shelter.
(Psalm 94:11-23 TPT)
2 thoughts on “Finding Peace in the Middle of a Contentious Atmosphere”
Charis, I can really relate to your post. So often I act in pride thinking it is my job to let others know I do not agree and then add to the problem. Love the Scriptures in the TPT. It cuts to the heart of the matter.
Than you for your post!
I’m realizing that so many psalms deal with the anger that is a reaction to injustice. The passion is real, but eventually they acknowledge that God is good, he cares, he sees, he hears, and he responds to the cries of his children. He is the one who conquers evil and changes hearts. Psalm 94 certainly does cut to the heart of the matter, doesn’t it?