In Matthew Chapter 5 verses 21 to 26, Jesus teaches his disciples and the crowds about the emotion of anger, and the consequences of it.
“You have heard that our ancestors we’re told “You must not murder. If you commit murder then you are subject to judgment,” but I say if you are angry with someone then you are subject to judgment; if you even call someone a fool, an idiot, then you are in danger of being brought before the court, and if you curse someone you are in danger of the fires of hell.”
Three concepts struck me by His words:
The first is that anger is an emotion that we can have when we are offended.
The second concept is this - the way we respond is far more important than the feeling we get.
And the third concept that hit me the most in this verse is this -
God’s justice is far more important than ours.
Let me break this down even more. First, let’s look at the emotion of anger.
I once heard that anger is danger without the “D” - in other words, we must be careful to dilute our anger before it becomes too much and creates a dangerous consequence for us.
Anger is often rooted in bitterness, which is often tied to some kind of resentment or lack of forgiveness.
Anger often comes when you have been let down. It’s usually the result of unmet expectations which often leads to disappointment and resentment.
Anger often covers up underlying sadness, and aggression may be the result of underlying depression. So it’s important to take a deeper look.
Anger can be directed at yourself or someone else, and it often results in some kind of verbal or physical attack such as thoughts like “I’m not good enough” or “I’m gonna kill you if you treat me like that!”
Anger often triggers a primal response, and our body responds without too much thought. Anger turns off our prefrontal cortex and our amygdala activates a “flight or fight” response, and before we know it, we behave as if we are under “life or death.”
King David said, “Be angry, but do not sin.”
I suppose he meant it’s okay to be angry but not act like it.
Paul said, “Don’t sin by letting anger control you; don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry for anger gives a foothold to the devil.”
I guess he meant that we should take a time out and let our anger dissipate before responding to it.
So while anger is a natural emotion, we all have the responsibility to control it.
The consequences of anger can lead to very bad decisions, like saying means things, destroying property or hurting another.
Many relationships have been totally destroyed because people are not able to tame their tongue. Many identities have been totally lost, because a person has given in to self-defeating thoughts.
There comes a time when we all have to decide whose justice system under which we will abide.
We can stand for social justice and choose to be our own king, or we can have a Kingdom mentality and choose to follow what Jesus said.
“If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”
We must remember that God is not only love, but is absolutely just! And He measures us according to His Kingdom laws.
It’s hard for us who live in the flesh, in a world covered by sin to not respond as if we know best.
It’s very hard to swallow our pride especially when someone else has hurt us inside.
But Jesus is very clear on this subject - so clear that he addresses it twice - as written in Matthew Chapter 5. To be a Citizen in His Kingdom, we must learn to trust, to love and to forgive.
It’s antithetical to everything we know, unless of course, He is sanctifying us.
So I leave the Children of God with this - the next time you become angry with yourself or another person, repent and ask God for His forgiveness. He will help you change your attitude as you replace your thoughts with His Words.
And remember this...
“The Holy Spirit helps us to get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead we are to be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another - just as God through Christ has forgiven us.”