Our scripture this morning is Matthew 5:21-26.
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. So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.
My wife will tell you that I sometimes lose my cool in traffic, not something I’m proud of obviously but I rationalize that “it’s just me blowing off steam in the car, I don’t get out and scream at people”. However, Jesus says “if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment” (v. 22). We seem to have a “scale” of sins, that some are worse than others, but in God’s eyes sin is sin.
Anger seems to be a prevalent emotion these days. There are situations in the world that deserve our righteous anger and should cause us to work for a resolution, but it seems we “waste” our anger on things that we can’t control or that really don’t matter. Jesus warns us about being angry with each other specifically.
He teaches that we should be reconciled with each other in order to be reconciled with God. In 1 John 4:20 we read “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar”. It is important that our anger does not separate us from our brothers and sisters as well as our Heavenly Father.
Loving Lord, we are sorry for the times we let our anger override our relationship with each other. Bind us together in love that we may work for Your kingdom eternally. Amen.