Have you ever struggled with anger? Most people do, and God knows it. That’s why he warns about it throughout the Bible, and why Jesus warned about it in these verses.
Not all anger is bad. God can have what some people call “righteous anger,” especially when his most prized creation, people, hurt other people. Jesus displayed righteous anger one time when he cleared greedy salespeople out of the temple (John 2:13-16). But unlike God and Jesus, our anger is rarely righteous and pure.
People often express anger through judgmental name-calling. Calling someone an idiot, or a fool (or worse) comes with some heavy consequences. It grieves and angers God. The words themselves aren’t the main problem. But they're evidence of deeper issues that are often grounded in anger. When we speak about someone like this, with anger and hatred in our heart, Jesus said it's as bad as if we'd committed murder.
So what are we supposed to do when we get angry?
First, don’t let anger come out in thoughtless words. As the saying goes, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all – good advice for sure.
Next, as Jesus said in Matthew 5:23-26, go immediately to the person you are angry with and attempt to “be reconciled” or “make peace” with him or her.
Jesus also said in Matthew 7:1-5 to look at your own faults before you attack someone else’s.
When you are angry, ask God in prayer to help you with your thoughts, words, and body language (rolling your eyes, turning away, and more).
When we learn to notice and confront our anger in its early stages, we will avoid making things worse in our relationships with others and with God.
To Think About:
Think of a time when someone was really angry with you. What happened? How did you feel and respond?
Why do you think Jesus instructs people to deal with their anger quickly?
How might God use your last (specific) “angry moment” as an opportunity to grow in your relationship with him?