“You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.” – Matthew 5:21-22 (MSG).
The “Sermon on the Mount” is difficult for me to read because it shines a light on my character every day, every time, and reminds me of something that needs changing. This is why I should read it often. Matthew 5:21-22 deals with the matter of anger and how words are so powerful that their misuse is tantamount to murder. How true this is. I have witnessed the negative impact of my anger on others, and seen the pain that harsh words can cause. I have felt the same as well and still nurse deeply hidden hurts from words spoken years ago. Whoever said “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me” must have been a very different kind of human to me.
“In your anger, do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” – Ephesians 4:26 (NIV).
“Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life” Ephesians 4:26-27. (MSG)
Be angry, briefly; it’s human and can even be a positively motivating emotion. Anger (or righteous indignation) has spurred many on to take definite action to correct a wrong. However, festering in anger long-term is negative and can lead to vindictive actions, hurtful outbursts and even ill health in ourselves.
Do I still harbor anger in my heart towards anyone? Do you? We need to take this to God, ask him to shine his light on our hearts, get rid of all resentment and hidden anger, so that this does not bubble over into sinful actions and emotional murder.
We need to hate what is evil without hating the evil-doer; be upset at what is wrong, without setting up camp in the bog of annoyance. May God help us all through the washing and regenerating power of his Word and his Spirit.