Written by be.loved team member: Nadine Schroeder
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
(Psalm 119:11 ESV)
I remember a distinct sentence that floated strongly in my mind as boy was breaking up with me. I remember it because it was the defining thing that made my break-up the way it was. Or at least it was a defining part…or something like that. It’s the sentence that eventually led me to want to write this series.
Boy talked as we walked. He shared his heart, and I hurt inside. I had so many words to say, so much hurt to give, so much bitterness to bring up. And I heard God tell my heart, “in your anger, do not sin.”
So I didn’t. I kept my words in and petitioned God for comfort. Boy finished his words— there were a lot of them—and said something along the lines of, “well the ball is in your court now . . .”
Have you ever watched a movie where a guy breaks up with a girl? Yeah, me too. Usually the girl freaks out immediately or later on in the movie she has a break-down. She’s pissed and demonstrates her anger by yelling at him in that moment or talking bad about him later. She either cries all the time or grows super bitter and hates all men. This is not our call as believers in Christ.
I was extremely mad. I was angry. I was hurt. But I also loved Jesus. So I held my tongue. It wasn’t for some sort of moralism or legalism that I kept my mouth shut. It was (and I just realized this today during the sermon at my church) because of grace. The grace of God slowed my tongue from saying words that might have caused more damage for me in the long run. The grace of God allowed me to be silent when I wanted to be loud. The grace of God caught onto my heart and held it close.
I said something along the lines of, “I don’t have anything to say, because all the words I want to say are unkind, and I’m not supposed to say them.”
If I remember correctly, I think boy sort of laughed at that statement. But that statement was true. I definitely had words—a lot of them.
In my life, I want Jesus to rule over my words.
There are two verses that my heart remembered when I heard God say, “in your anger do not sin.”
The first is in Ephesians when it says: “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil” (4:26-17).
That’s daunting. We’re called to deal with our anger before the night falls. Anybody you need to call before you go to sleep tonight to make things right?
(After writing this, I sent a message out to someone. I initiated friendship for the first time in a few years. I knew I needed to after re-reading that verse and examining my heart.)
The other is in Psalms when it says: “Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent” (4:4).
God doesn’t call our anger sin, but sometimes our anger leads us to sin. If I had put into words the emotion I was feeling at the time, I would have sinned. I know that for sure. I chose to live righteously in that moment.
Each moment of every day, we have a choice to live a righteous life or a sinful one.
When you live a life ruled by your love for Christ it will alter how you deal with everything.
I encourage you to “ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.” I spent a lot of time over the next long while doing all three – pondering, being on my bed (typically in tears huddled in a ball seeking comfort from Jesus) and being silent before God. I had to spend a lot of time asking God why the relationship had happened and to what purpose I was supposed to live out my life. Over time, God started answering all of my “why” questions.
Jesus healed my heart, and the grace of God allowed me to deal with my break-up—at least in that moment—without sinning.
If anger is a big issue in your life, surround yourself with people who can walk with you. As I walked away from boy, I grabbed my phone and texted about ten of my closest friends. I don’t have the text anymore but it said something along the lines of: “So boy just broke up with me. I’m really sad and I’m really hurt so I need you to pray for me because I want to honor God in this.” I love Jesus so much that I needed to get all my close friends on my side to walk with me and not allow me to stumble into sin. Did some of my friends bring me a trashy magazine, chocolate, and a card that night? Yes they did, because they also knew that I had to mourn. But to be honest, I probably didn’t read the magazine. Instead I turned to Jesus for my comfort – because I know (and I hope you know or are learning) that all comfort that is holy is from God and all comfort that is not holy is not from God.
I knew the verses I mentioned above because I studied them earlier in my life. See what I’m getting at? We need to pour our time into God’s word so that when we face issues we know what truth is. We need to know the truth of God so that we live out our hope in God. Believe me when I say that avoiding scripture is a huge habit of mine. It’s one of the biggest sin issues in my life. I have to constantly ask Jesus to give me a craving for His word because I know that every time I dig into scripture, I learn so much. God is faithful to speak to us when we’re faithful to seek out His truth.
Let’s go live out our hope. Let’s show our faith in Christ by being faithful for Him and living out our love for Him. This week, let’s show it in our actions—most specifically in how we respond to the things that happen to and around us..
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23)
You will? K cool, me too.
Written by be.loved team member: Nadine Schroeder