Skip to main content

Angry Christians

“You have heard that it was said to those who lived long ago, Don’t commit murder, and all who commit murder will be in danger of judgment. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with their brother or sister will be in danger of judgment. If they say to their brother or sister, ‘You idiot,’ they will be in danger of being condemned by the governing council. And if they say, ‘You fool,’ they will be in danger of fiery hell. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift at the altar and go. First make things right with your brother or sister and then come back and offer your gift.

Be angry without sinning.  Don’t let the sun set on your anger.  Don’t provide an opportunity for the devil.

Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints.
-Matthew 5:21-24, Eph. 4:26-7, 1 Cor. 13:4-5

For the Christian, anger has a short shelf life and holding onto it is not permitted.  Anger breeds bitterness, contempt, and murder.  But, the reality is that ninety-nine percent of us will get angry.  When we do, it is a challenge to discipline ourselves to feel it, express it, and release it; without harming others or ourselves.

Jesus is our example of being angry without sinning.  When he drove out the money changers from the temple courts and overturned their tables, he was angry.  Jesus had the authority to do this at the temple.  You might behave exactly the same way if you caught your son or daughter doing something wicked in your own home.

Jesus was saying and you would also be saying, "this is wrong and I will not put up with it....  you are better than this."  Jesus drove out the money changers.  We might drive out someone from our home who is sinning, like an adult child, other relative, or friend; and we might also drive out demons with anger, but without sinning.

Anger is meant to be felt, expressed, and released; without harming others or yourself.  Anger happens and we need to know how to deal with it, but bitterness, unforgiveness, condemning, and contempt are not ok.  The disciple of Jesus is living in the kingdom of God and is governed now by that kingdom and is learning Jesus ways.

The disciple experiences a transformed heart.  Not murdering is not enough.  We must not murder people in our hearts.  Sarcasm and insults come out of a bitter heart.  That comes from anger in the heart that has 'past-due' on its expiration date.

Service to and worship of God are short-circuited by past-due anger.  Reconciliation comes before serving and worship.  God saves us for relationship with him and gives us grace to mend every fractured human relationship.  You show that you are reconciled to God, living in God's kingdom, and are Jesus disciple; by reconciling broken relationships first, before offerings, service, and worship.

Calling people idiots or fools is a bad idea.  Unless it is somehow said with non-condemning, descriptive anguish from us as we believe we are witnessing a preventable tragedy; idiot, fool, and stupid, or worse names are off limits.

What does it mean to be angry, but not sin?  What does it mean to not let the sun go down on your anger?  And, what does it mean to not give the devil a foothold?  It means:
Be zealous in God's cause, but cool in your own.
Let godly fear curb ungodly exacerbation.
Let vituperation cease at nightfall and shake hands. (1)
Those who sin in their anger by not releasing it (feel, express, release) become embittered and irascible, by indulging resentment.  They create a landing pad for the devil to torment them in their lives.

Irritable, quick or hot-tempered, testy, touchy, crabby, grouchy, grumpy, and cantankerous people might have let the devil get a foothold in their lives.  Bitterness births more bitterness.

Once upon a time, this person suffered a loss or an injustice, perhaps.  They may even be embittered with themselves for what they did.  They did not and do not have grace for themselves.  Their sin might have given them shame and the bitteredness leads to more graceless sin and on the cycle goes downward.

Most of us need to develop a more gracious relationship with our selves.  Low self-esteem is manifested both in hatred of yourself and in grandiosity.  Positive or healthy self-esteem is to see yourself in the light of God's love in Christ - a former sinner, now a saint.

Embitterment, resentment, and cantankerous rage do not come from righteous indignation. They come from pride and lack of self-control. When Moses came down from the mountain and broke the sacred tablets, he was righteously indignant, for the Lord. But when he struct the rock a second time, out of anger, that was sin, because it was out of his own impatient irritation with the people.

The "love chapter" in 1 Corinthians 13, describes God's and Christ's love in the heart of a believer.  The last two points are that love is not irritable (easily irritated) and love does not keep a record of wrongs (is not resentful or embittered).  This sounds the same and "don't let the sun go down on your anger", as in 'shelf life" or 'past due' times.

If you are stewing on anger, you are keeping a record of it, and love doesn't do that.  Get more of that love, God's love in your life, that doesn't do that.  Because if you keep a record of wrongs, you will open the door to the devil.

The way of love is not a law we follow, but it is the life of Christ within us.  We live in his life and when we need more love, more of his life flows into us for the particular challenge we are facing in the spontaneous moment.  Jesus came that we might have life.  His life is lived through your life in the present moment.  Everything you need is always there in Christ in you, the hope of glory.

______________________________
1. The Epistles To The Ephesians and Colossians, NICNT, Simpson & Bruce; p. 108

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Two Disciples and The Two Donkeys

When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave two disciples a task.  He said to them, “Go into the village over there. As soon as you enter, you will find a donkey tied up and a colt with it. Untie them and bring them to me.  If anybody says anything to you, say that the Lord needs it.” He sent them off right away.  Now this happened to fulfill what the prophet said,  Say to Daughter Zion, “Look, your king is coming to you, humble and riding on a donkey, and on a colt the donkey’s offspring.”  The disciples went and did just as Jesus had ordered them.  They brought the donkey and the colt and laid their clothes on them. Then he sat on them.
-Matthew 21:1-7

On what we call Palm Sunday, Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem. But, he had two disciples get two donkeys: a mother donkey and her colt. Jesus rode the young male who had never been ridden before. In his carefulness and perhaps kindness towards these two donkeys, he had th…

God's Secret, Hidden People

(The children) of Elam 1,254.  -Ezra 2:7

Do you feel hidden?

The name Elam means secret or hidden.  Do you feel like you are on the shelf, not being used by God?  Maybe you are part of God's secret agents.

God has people who are in secret.

I have this idea that God has His attention on secret people.   I believe that God has rewards for secret people coming.  You may feel on the shelf, but you are actually hidden for a special purpose.  God has you in reserve.

The number one thousand, two-hundred, and fifty-four; tells us God's plan for his hidden, secret, and in reserve children

One thousand speaks of recompense.

Recompense means that you will be compensated or made amends to, due to harm or loss you suffered. In Genesis 20:16 is the story of Abimelech recompensing Abraham and Sarah.

Two speaks of fellowship, partnership, and co-laboring (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

There are hidden people who have felt like they are "going it alone", who are about to be joined by someone.  …

God Will Always Bless Your Rest, by Graham Cooke

Graham Cooke:

"So in Genesis 2, by the seventh day, God completed his work which he had done and he rested on the 7th day from all his work he had done, and then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it he rested from all his work which God had created and made.

God will always bless your rest.

Always.

Since I learned rest, there has never been a time when God has not blessed that rest and honored that rest and sanctified my rest.

In other words, set aside peace for me; set aside rest for me.

So, for me, therefore, when God blesses something and sanctifies it and sets it apart; what that means is rest is always available as an absolute essential for life.

So, every circumstance you encounter already has rest in the issue.

No matter how hard, no matter how harsh, no matter how difficult, no matter how awful; every single circumstance has rest, because it's the one thing that God has blessed and sanctified, in terms of his relationship with you.

So, it'…