I know that “shut up” isn’t a nice term. We discourage our kids from using that term. But I think a violent term like that is needed here. “Shut up” is what you tell yourself to do when a million feelings are running wild in your heart and you know that it wouldn’t be good to share those feelings.
Oh, wait. Do people still do that? Or have we bought into the idea that letting our feelings fly is always the best course of action?
In Psalm 73 Asaph is about to burst. He’s overwhelmed with confusion, anger, and bitterness. Some of it is directed at people—but more than anything else it is directed at the Lord.
I’m glad he didn’t have a Facebook account. If he did he might have put up some vague status that let out a little bit of that anger. Or he might have just let it all rip behind the safety of his computer. Or maybe he wouldn’t have…
“If I had said, ‘I will speak thus’, I would have betrayed the generation of your children”.
That is Asaph’s way of saying, “I told myself to shut up. I didn’t express my feelings. Because my battle with bitterness and doubt would have caused harm to the faith of others. I love your kids so I shut my mouth.”
Have you ever considered that your little Facebook rants might be harming the faith of others? Is it possible that they see all the bitterness seeping through your post and wonder how in the world this matches all those “likes” on those Jesus photos?
Or forget Facebook for a moment. Giving full vent and expression to your bitterness harms the faith of others no matter the context.
But My Life Isn’t Easy
Asaph isn’t saying that we are to just stuff everything down and never talk about it. He’s not advocating a life of ease and comfort. In fact, he said that such a life describes the wicked more than the righteous.
Asaph calls himself a bitter beast-like man that is wrestling with God about how He is ordering the world. He’s not some polished dude with an ever smiling face. He’s gritty. He’s honest with his bitterness. He’s not stuffing and trying to pretend like he’s not cheesed about his empty pockets while unbelievers seem to get a cozy life. j
But here’s the deal, he was a quiet beast like-man with bitterness raging within him. There is value in shutting up when our feelings don’t match what we know to be true. There might be people to talk to—but Facebook and “just letting it rip” isn’t the way to go.
I like how Asaph ends the Psalm:
But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.
There is value in telling your bitter and confused heart to put a cork in it. But there isn’t value in shutting up about the glories of God.