Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. [Psalm 37:8, NASB]
There are several dams along the three rivers that run where we live. One of them is a favorite spot to take guests and children because of the fish ladders provided by the Army Corps of Engineers. The windows inside provide understanding about the types of fish that are running up the river to spawn. And it’s different each time. The last time we went, the predominant specie was carp. The previous time was lots of shad. On other occasions we have seen salmon and steelhead.
Carp is not an especially elegant fish, like salmon and steelhead, just big with large scales. Nor is it a preferred food fish; although it is edible. But as I considered the carp, I was given a prophetic picture of its usage as a term primarily used in the UK.
Carping means to find fault in a disagreeable way for petty reasons; complain fretfully. Evading the truth or importance of an issue by raising trivial distinctions and objections. Any part of that or all of it is carping. It’s akin to fretting.
In the Hebrew text, the word for wrath describes venom; snake poison. Fretting is a poison. It gnaws and chafes with the intent to erode and wear down from the inside out. Another flavor of it is negativity.
The final product of fretful negativity is a ruined state (evildoing) of the flesh. This verse has a strong message to this acquired habit; cease, forsake and stop it. Turn around and head the other way.
The way of gratefulness changes a fretful or negative perspective. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If we live according to the flesh, we will die. If we live according to the Spirit we have life and peace. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
What we tolerate or cultivate either empowers the devil or empowers faith. It’s a daily decision to live gratefully by faith. If fretting is a poison, gratefulness is the antidote.