“Anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.” (Matthew 5:22)
For those of us who feel confident that we would never intentionally shed blood, we should remember Jesus’ words, “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.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment” (Matthew 5:21-22). The heart can be murderous without ever actually committing murder.
When unchecked anger toward others threatens to consume us, we desperately need the Holy Spirit to fill and control our hearts so that our human tendencies can be replaced by the fruit of the Spirit. Then, love, joy, and peace can mark our relationships.
- How healthy are your relationships?
- How can you allow the Spirit to produce fruit that enables healthier relationships?
Heavenly Father, help us when we want to strike back at those who hurt us. Please help us to respond with love.
“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.’ 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. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”
Matthew 5:22 cautions us against anger. But anger as a human response to people or situations isn’t necessarily wrong. The psalmist wisely warned us, “Be angry, and do not sin” (Psalm 4:4). Jesus was angry at the Jewish merchants who desecrated the temple and at the unbelief of the Jews. The apostle Paul was angry at the idolatry he saw in Athens. But it’s sinful when we let anger control us: “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” (Ephesians 4:26-27). Paul said to “get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice”. James cautioned us to be “slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” (James 1:19-20).