I was very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. I took counsel with myself, and I brought charges against the nobles and the officials. (Nehemiah 5:6–7, ESV)
When Nehemiah heard about the injustice against the people, the text says he was “very angry.” It doesn’t say he was angry. It says “very angry.”
I am sure many of us have overreacted to situations. We allowed our emotions get the better of us. We said or did things we would later regret. The reason was that we reacted without thinking. We were simply responding to our emotions.
But it says that before Nehemiah acted, he took counsel with himself. It was a good thing when we consider how angry he was. Acting on anger (rage) towards others rarely ends well. It doesn’t mean that Nehemiah did not have a right to be angry. He was rightfully angry. But it was important to thoughtfully respond to his anger. Anger is not a bad thing in itself. It is how we respond to that anger.
How can you step back from your emotions to consider a situation? It may be taking a deep breath. It may be going to God in prayer. It may be taking some time to journal. It may be discussing the situation with a confidant or prayer partner.
Where have you acted rashly and need to seek repentance? Often the best course of action is no action. Listen first. Think through the situation. Pray for God to guide your actions so that the thing you do would be the thing that brings him glory.
- Have you ever regretted how you responded to a situation?
- How can you prevent yourself from responding impulsively when a situation requires thoughtful judgment?
Lord, I ask for your forgiveness for the times I have acted impulsively and hastily responded to situations that required calm. I ask that you would give me a Spirit of humility to listen, to think, and to pray before taking action. Guide my words and my actions so that they always bring glory to your most holy name. Amen.