Jesus Teaches about Anger: 3030 Challenge #Day 3
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.
“Therefore, 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.
“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Matthew 5:21-25
A strong feeling of being upset because of something wrong,
The feeling that makes someone want to hurt others,
A strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by wrong; wrath; ire,
A seething, brooding bitterness against someone.
It is a dangerous emotion that always threatens to leap out of control, leading to violence, emotional hurt, increased mental stress, relationship and spiritual damage.
Anger in itself might not be a sin, but it often leads people to sins.
Unresolved anger is sin.
ANGER IS AN ALARM.
A warning light. Treat it as such. Find out what’s setting off the alarm.
Something is wrong—maybe in someone else’s actions
Injustice, a personal attack
Like all warning systems, you can have false alarms. You can be angry even if you haven’t been wronged. (Something amiss in me.)
When Jesus said “But I tell you…” He was not doing away with the law or adding His own beliefs. Rather, He was giving a fuller understanding of why God made the law in the first place. For example, Moses said, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13); Jesus taught that we should not even become angry enough to murder, for then we have already committed murder in our heart. The Pharisees read this law, and not having literally murdered anyone, felt righteous. Yet there were angry enough with Jesus that they would soon plot His death, though they would not do the dirty work themselves.
We miss the intent of God’s words when we read His rule without trying to understand why He made them.
When do you keep the law, but close your eyes to its intent?
Killing is a terrible sin. But anger is a great sin too because it violates God’s commands to love
Anger keeps us from developing a spirit pleasing to God.
Again, anyone who says to his brother, “Raca,” is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, “You fool!” will be in danger of the fire of hell.
Raca and fool are insults. (Raca sounds like spitting and means “empty head”.) Fool is Greek “moron”. When we’re angry, we really want to say something nasty to the people who make us angry. Jesus says, that’s sin.
Gehenna. Trash heap where they dumped the bodies of criminals. Always burning. Came to symbolize hell. He doesn’t mean that if you call someone a fool that you’re going to hell. He means that is a sin and sin deserves hell. If Jesus hadn’t paid for your sin, that’s what you would deserve—not just for murder, but even for speaking insults.
God takes it seriously. Why? In our anger, we lose sight of the person that God loves.
DON’T LET ANGER ACT.
Commit yourself to not allow anger to either act or speak.
Story about the burglar trap, shotgun at the front door.
You want an alarm with less dire consequences. Church alarm.
In anger we say things and do things that we wouldn’t say or do if we were sober. Don’t let anger control you. Exercise self control.
(fruit of God’s Spirit)
Have you ever been proud that you didn’t strike out and say what was really on your mind? Self-control is good, but Christ wants us to practice thought-control as well. Because we will be held accountable not only for our acts but for our attitudes and motives behind them as well.
I once heard a Pastor recommend to His members to practice thought-control by always try to remember God’s word or think about His love whenever they are hurt rather than to think about the hurt or the person who hurt them which will lead to anger and the acts that often follows.
It is better to practice controlling out thoughts so we will not need to practice self-control.
We can control the anger, by relying on Christ and God’s words.
Reconciliation is Important
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,
leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
This verse shows the importance of reconciliation. It’s important enough to interrupt worshipping God (maybe because unresolved conflict does interfere with our ability to worship God.)
Really, both parties are responsible to come together and patch things up. As far as possible, to be able to agree on what was done, what was wrong and for each side to take responsibility for whatever they contributed to the conflict.
This is usually the last thing we want to do. And it’s hard work. But it is very important. More important, says Jesus, than getting to the worship service on time. Not only is reconciliation important, it’s also urgent.
In this last section, Jesus gives us a mini-parable to teach us that the business of reconciliation is urgent.
Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way,
or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.
I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
Surely this extends beyond just the situation of two men going to court.
He’s using this example to illustrate a broader principle.
If you continue to hold anger in your heart or if you have sinned against a brother and not ever tried to patch things up, then you are asking for it. There are consequences for leaving these things unresolved. Reconciliation is urgent so that you can avoid those consequences.
If you are in sin against a brother, God will not send you to hell for it (that’s not what this means), but he will lovingly discipline you to capture your attention and bring you to repentance (God-ward) and reconciliation (man-ward).
If you don’t “get it” the first time, then he brings a bigger stick. (Which of you wouldn’t push your kid with a stick to move them out of the path of on oncoming car?) So…be reconciled now before God goes and gets the big stick.
Unresolved anger is a sin. And like all sins, it destroys us. The reason God tells us to stay away from sin is because he doesn’t want us to get hurt.
Sometimes you might feel so angry you could kill. Very often you can’t help that. But it’s what you do next that really matters. Because whenever you harbor anger in your heart, whenever you refuse to forgive or refuse to reconcile, the life that’s really in danger is yours.
How are you dealing with that anger?