Sermon on the Mount: Anger
“You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill. “This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God. (Matthew 5:21-24 MSG)
Journal: Jesus now goes into a discourse on single issues of the heart and the behaviors that are attached starting with anger. Jesus compares anger to murder to show its severity. Aside from all sin being equal, he probably does this to show that there are all types of evil behavior whose initial seed was one of anger. Anger, grudges, and hot tempers are all like poison. One, it poisons our relationships. Two, it poisons our hearts as we dwell on things that would be better if forgotten. Jesus then goes on to show the importance of making things right. He calls us to put reconciliation ahead of even our church rituals and business. He calls us to resolve our earthly conflicts before pursuing heavenly relationships because it is that important to live in right relationship with other people. If murder is an extreme action that leads to judgement, then anger is its brother, the extreme thought that leads to judgment as well. May we be quick to forgive and slow to anger.