"You have heard that our ancestors were told, 'You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.' But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell" (Matthew 5:21-22 NLT).
Did you connect anger with murder? Yes, uncontrolled anger leads to unforgiveness, bitterness, malice and murder. That's why Jesus' teaching is so strong. Paul said, "In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry" (Ephesians 4:26 NIV).
Jesus taught to settle matters with our adversaries quickly. He said, "When you remember that a person has something against you, go and be reconciled. Even if you are at the altar giving your offering, leave your gift and go to the person. Then after you've made peace, come back and give your offering" (Matthew 5:23-24 my paraphrase).
Think About It
Jesus said something else that helps with anger. "Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you" (Matthew 7:12 NLT). That means if someone makes a mistake and causes us to be upset, we should remember that we also make mistakes, and we should be kind. Jesus also said, "Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44 NLT). Do you know how hard it is to stay angry at someone you pray for?
Pray About It
Father God, help us not to sin in our anger but to live according to your will. It is hard and we need your help. Amen.