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 seems to be saying that anger is the same as murder. Not so. He is illustrating how inner feelings and attitudes are the source of outward conduct. We can’t pat ourselves on the back for not killing someone if we harbour hateful thoughts towards them. Anger does not have the same consequences as murder, but anger can lead to murder. And anger can be destructive to others as well.
Yet there is a good sort of anger. Wilberforce was angry at slave trading, and Lord Shaftesbury angry at child labour. In each case, such anger led to positive change. Anger is a problem insofar as it is hatefully directed at others, and insofar as it is badly handled.
Some Christians clam up and bury or deny their anger. This is harmful to our bodies and emotions. Anger is a powerful energy that can play havoc with our health. But the alternative is not to blow up either. If we just ‘let it all out’, we damage others with the shrapnel of our anger. So the idea is to control our anger and express it in a safe way, neither clamming up nor blowing up.
Best to share it with our God who understands it. So often our angry outbursts are a symptom of something eating at us deeper inside. It is a sign something is not right and we need divine help to put it right.