Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.
— Psalm 37:8
Injustice makes us angry. That’s okay, but we must be careful. Psalm 37:8 cautions us not to fuss so much about the evil we see that we become evildoers ourselves.
First, we see evil or injustice, and we begin to fret about it. It’s not fair that by doing evil things some people gain power and wealth. And what if that evil gets directed toward us? If we fret about it too much, we can begin to get angry. “Why doesn’t anyone stop them?” we cry. “We ought to put them in their place!” And if we stay angry, that can grow and become wrath. In wrath, we can be consumed by our anger. If we are not thinking straight and are not careful, we can fall into behavior that leads to evil.
A lot of research in past decades has shown that this kind of progression is behind a lot of criminal activity. Someone experiences injustice, and before you know it, they are acting unjustly too. Maybe at first they directed their evil at people who were hurting them. But it doesn’t always end there.
Though wrath may not always lead to criminal activity, it is destructive. Wrath can cause things like mocking, bullying, and other unjust activities as well.
The solution is to avoid even fretting about evil. God will provide justice, and he will provide for our needs as well. We might not be able to stop everyone else’s evil, but we can at least stop ourselves by resting patiently in God.
Dear God, help us to trust that you will provide justice fittingly in your time. Amen.