Beneath the surface - Hope 103.2

Beneath the surface

By David ReayMonday 28 Mar 2016LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Matthew 5:21-22

21 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ 22 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. (NLT)

Jesus wants us to go beyond the surface to see what lurks within. He is not here equating murder and anger: obviously one is more serious than the other. And yet there is a relationship. The below-the-surface anger, the apparently petty outbursts, are themselves sins against God. And it is implied in this context that anger, if left unchecked, can lead to more serious acts such as murder.

This is not to say that all anger is wrong. We can be angry without sinning. One good way to figure out if your anger is ‘righteous’ is to ask yourself if God himself would be angry at what you are angry at. Righteous anger can be a springboard to remedying evil and injustice.

But much of our anger is not of that kind, but rather frustration at having our wishes thwarted. It is not helpful to ‘blow up’ and damage others with our emotional shrapnel. Getting things off our chest may help us but hurt others. Yet nor is it helpful to ‘clam up’ and bury or deny our anger. It can cause a lot of emotional and even physical damage if we let such a powerful emotion simmer without resolution or expression.

It is best to pour out any anger to God, asking him to help us, asking him to show us what the cause of our anger might be. Others can provide wise counsel in this as well. We might not be able to help angry feelings arise. We are able to take responsibility for what we do with those feelings.

David Reay