I am where I am today because I am walking in obedience to God. There is no question in my mind where my success is coming from. I have walked my own path long enough to know the destruction I cause when I do it my own way. And because I love my life today, I am very careful to stay within God’s Will for my life.
So I believe by the end of this blog you will understand why it was alarming to me in my devotions when I read this:
“But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” Matthew 5:22
I am an angry person. Deep down, core rooted anger. Anger stemming from my childhood. Anger at the hands of men. Anger at God. I cover my anger with a nice smile, a few jokes and some kindness. But at the end of the day, it’s still very much present.
I know this because I regularly have to push back against becoming overly angry in situations that wouldn’t warrant it. Usually this is with my children. Usually I succeed.
I’ve never seen anger as a productive emotion. It’s easy to get caught up in, blown out of proportion and often creates bigger problems than what is causing the emotion. But in walking my journey, I am learning that anger can be productive. It often indicates a warning that our boundaries are being crossed. An injustice is taking place.
So when I read “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment” (Matthew 5:22), I became somewhat alarmed.
No one likes to be judged. Especially by our Creator.
But didn’t Jesus get angry?
During the time of the New Testament, Roman money was the common currency, yet Jewish authorities required tax payers to pay in Hebrew money. So the government allowed people to come in and set up a money exchange (at the time, commonly referred to as money changers). The money changers were profiting greatly from the people exchanging their money to pay theTempleTax, and then again when the priests exchanged the Hebrew money back for their common currency (I see a problem in the government here, but that’s for another blog). The money changers, who had no regard for God, were making a rich profit off of God’sTempleby this double dipping collection and Jesus was angry. So He came in and overturned tables of the money changers and said “My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a ‘den of robbers’”. (Matthew 21:13)
Even Jesus faced anger.
But His anger was pure and solely in the interest of God’s Kingdom. It was timely and fair.
When I look at the anger I feel, usually God’s Kingdom has nothing to do with it. When I’m angry, my flesh hurts. I’m offended. I’m violated. I…I…I…It’s all about me.
Ephesians 4:26 acknowledges we will feel anger. It instructs our reaction when we feel this emotion. “In your anger, do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” Timely and fair.
This tells me it is okay to feel angry. It shows me it’s normal and expected. But what it also says is how I react to that emotion is where I show God where my faith lies.
I believe God wants us to deal with anger. Not to ignore it. Not to grin and bear it. He wants us to learn from it and set up appropriate boundaries. He wants us to be sure not to sin as a result of it.
Much of my life issues have resulted from a “grin and bear it” mentality that has left me a doormat to some around me. I have stuffed anger as a result of this and threw away the key. But God has unlocked the chest and is walking me through this process of unpacking and helping me to set up appropriate boundaries.
He’s even okay with my anger with Him. He’s helping me to work through that.
Anger – a healthy emotion or a sin?
That’s your choice. I’m choosing to keep it healthy.