Thursday, November 19

Goodbye anger

Scripture: Matthew 5-7

Matthew 5:21–22 You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister, will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

Observation

Jesus cites a number of Old Testament laws and after each one says, “But I tell you…”.  This was startling; it was an implicit claim to be greater than the Law.  And just as startling, Jesus elevates each moral to a new level.  In this case, he takes the prohibition against murder and goes to the root and prohibits anger!

But what about righteous anger?  The Bible says that only God is righteous, so start there.  God has righteous anger; me?  Not so much?

Am I saying that we shouldn’t be angered by injustice?  No, we should because God is.  But we should also recognize the limitations of our anger, tainted as it is by our unrighteousness.  

James 1:19–20 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

Generally, we should distrust our anger.  It is rarely as pure as we think and rarely leads to the outcomes we hope for.  Better by far to take Jesus at his word here and let go of our anger, refuse to belittle or call names or degrade other people.

Ephesians 4:31–32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Get rid of your anger; instead be kind, compassionate and forgiving.

Application

In 2020 more than ever, it seems like everyone has been baptized in gas!  One spark and they erupt!  So this is a timely word—get rid of your anger. 

Today, I’m going to stop myself each time I feel angry or disgusted with someone; check my heart and my tongue; and ask Jesus to help me to be kind, compassionate and forgiving. 

Prayer: Lord, help us let go of our anger, and instead offer kindness, compassion and forgiveness.