June 18, 2014

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.” Matthew 5:21-22

Matthew records Jesus’ attitude towards anger in Matthew chapter 5. And it’s pretty clear that according to Jesus, anger is no laughing matter.

In God’s eyes, the seriousness of anger is equated with murder. In other words, when we have a contemptuous attitude, slander, bully, or tear down another, God takes it as seriously as murder. So, we should probably pay attention to what triggers our anger and do something about it.

So when are we often the most vulnerable to the sin of anger or contempt for our fellowman?  Take a look at this list and identify your triggers.

  • Fatigue.  When we are tired, we tend to become angry a lot easier. Even small annoyances or frustrations that we would usually ignore, can quickly spiral to losing our temper when we’re tired.
  • Discouragement.  How often have we seen great athletes trying their best, only to have everything fall apart in the final minutes of the game? All of a sudden, fights break out. Why? Frustration and feeling discouraged that no matter how hard they try, things just aren’t going their way build up causing tempers flair.  They lose their cool and fall into the sin of anger.
  • Unmet Expectations.  A spouse or roommate falls through on a commitment. Maybe it’s as simple as forgetting to do the dishes when asked or as serious as cheating in a committed relationship. Anger rises up and everyone loses his or her cool – all because what was expected wasn’t the reality.
  • Fear.  Someone pulls out in front of you on the freeway, and you feel your life is threatened.  We tend to be lose our cool and respond in anger when the root of that response if fear.

Here’s the point: keep your guard up when going through a time of stress, times of great fatigue, times of great discouragement, or when someone hurts you and you are afraid.

When you find yourself in a situation, your temper begins to rise, and you want to unload on somebody, ask yourself, “Do I want Jesus to hear this?”  Take a moment to pause and identify the ROOT issue. Is is fear? Insecurity? Unmet expectations? Find out what’s beneath the anger and address the core issue, rather than unleash in anger.

Ask God for help to control your temper and when your anger gets the best of you (like it does for all of as at times), ask God and the person who felt your wrath for forgiveness. Confronting someone who has hurt you is often necessary, but losing our cool in the process is always wrong in God’s eyes.