The Separation Anger Brings
March 7, 2019, 3:39 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Anger’s Destructive Nature- Matthew 5:21-26
21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. 25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. 26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

Interpretation- What Does this mean?

Jesus is telling the Jews how to have a personal relationship with God.  That was His purpose in coming to earth and placing Himself in a body of a baby, who has now grown to be a man.  He realizes that what they do is based more on a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation than on a significant difference that it makes in their lives.  Their relationship with God was lifeless therefore they were living the life described by Solomon in Ecclesiastes, a life characterized by an empty and hopeless existence.  They were far from living a dynamic life intended by God.  He starts by challenging their traditional beliefs.  Notice that he goes beyond the surface outward things they do deep into the heart.  The first rule or commandment he addresses is “thou shalt not kill”.  A careful examination of the word for “kill” reveals that the law refers to the intentional and premeditated act of murder.  Having been created in the image of God, man was to hold high regard for the sanctity of life.  Each individual has a “god-ness” about them and each person reflects God in his ability to think, to love, to make choices, and to express himself in both words and emotions. 

It is at this point that Jesus goes deeper into the heart of man.  Outward observance of a moral code of conduct isn’t enough to be right in God’s sight.  Jesus wanted to expose the brokenness of man and his complete lack of any spiritual worth.  Remember the beatitude “blessed is the poor in spirit”?  In order to have a man live by the kingdom standards, man first had to be exposed as a fraud, pretending to be a follower of God on the outside but polluted within, with a heart that could be full of hatred, anger, arrogance, and vicious actions and words.  Notice that two words are used.  The first, raca, means “empty headed idiot”.  It is used in this context as an insult given by an angry person who expresses a contempt for another human being that de-humanizes him or her.  In cases like this, a judicial hearing before the Sanhedrin could result in a guilty plea and a fine or imprisonment. But the second term “fool” is much worse because not only does it express contempt of the person’s intelligence but also calls into question their relationship with God.  The “fool” has said in his heart, there is no God.  A person who attacks another person, hurling out insults of intelligence while expressing a disgust for this worthless person who is so beneath them, is showing his own lack of a relationship with God.  To a God who declares the second commandment is summed up by “love others as you love yourself”, the lack of concern over the words you use to ridicule and destroy others shows a lack a love for Him.  So, Jesus warns those listening, resolve conflicts and disagreements under the shadow of love for each other.  Jesus even suggest that we go to whatever lengths necessary to bring peace between us and the one who is acting as our adversary that we extend mercy to them.  Failing to lovingly work things out, with have severe and unwanted consequence that are beyond our control. 

Applications- I suppose the applications are many from this passage but here are four.  First, make the decision to be careful with the words you use as well as the tone with which you deliver them.  Wrongly using words can damage another individual, who God loves. 

Second, guard your anger.  Often anger produces undesired conflict with others and unwanted consequences.  Learn to control your anger as you learn to accept that others are life you, broken. Determine not to break them more. 

Third, realize that your conduct to others reflects your love of God.  Imagine each person with whom you come into contact as God.  He tells us that what we do to the least of these, we do unto Him.  Your comments in anger toward another person are reflective of your attitude toward God. 

Finally, the fourth application is this- find the root cause of your anger and turn that over to God.  An angry person is angry because of some reason which can be real or imagined.  I remember a man who got angry with his pastor over a small issue and as a result stopped going to church.   Any time the pastor was mentioned, the angry man took the opportunity speak insults and criticisms.  Imagine my surprise when the pastor asked me about, the man, and said he knew he had stopped coming to church because of physical illness.  Lovingly the pastor inquired about his health and spoke of his great admiration for the man, who had wasted a friendship because of anger.  In a world that needs to see the effectiveness of the Gospel, don’t let angry ruin your walk with others and your walk with God.   


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