Our Inner Anger Needs to Be Controlled
How about a little quiz – answer true or false to each of these questions:
- At times I feel like swearing
- At times I feel like smashing things
- Often I can’t understand why I’ve been so irritable and grouchy
- At times I feel like picking a fist fight with someone
- I easily become impatient with people
- I am often said to be hotheaded
- I am often so annoyed when someone tries to get ahead of me in a line of people that I speak to the person about it
- I have at times had to be rough with people who were rude of annoying
- I am often sorry because I am so irritable and grouchy
- It makes me angry to have people hurry me
- I am very stubborn
- Sometimes I get so angry and upset I don’t know what comes over me
- I have gotten angry and broken furniture or dishes
- I have become so angry with someone that I felt as if I would explode
- I’ve been so angry at times that I’ve hurt someone
- I almost never lose control
For question 1-15 each true answer is worth 1 point; for question 16 a false is worth 1 point. The higher the number the higher your anger level is.
Anger can be one of the most destructive things in our life.
· In verse 20 Jesus tells us that unless our righteousness exceeded that of the scribes and Pharisees, we will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Then in the verses that follow we discover 6 examples of how our righteousness should exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees.
- Last week we discovered what Christ thought about adultery and our lustful eyes. This morning we are going to look at the devastating effects that anger can have on ourselves, on our worship of God and on our relationship with other people.
Matthew 5:21-26 (NIV)
21 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.
23 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
25 "Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
Think about this the next time someone cuts you off in traffic or in a grocery store line: Anger can bring on a heart attack or stroke. That's the conclusion of several studies at Harvard Medical School and elsewhere. One study of 1,305 men with an average age of 62 revealed that the angriest men were three times more likely to develop heart disease than the most placid ones.
Angry older men, as stereotypes go, are most vulnerable. But excessive ire can take a toll at any age. Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine tracked 1,055 medical students for 36 years. Compared with cooler heads, the hotheads were six times more likely to suffer heart attacks by age 55 and three times more likely to develop any form of heart or blood vessel disease
In verse 21 Jesus points to the sixth commandment that in found in Exodus 20:13 "You shall not murder. He says that the Israelites were told before interpretation to not murder. It is important for us to understand Jesus was not doing away with this Law – he is just adding to it.
- The religious leaders thought they were in great shape if they did not kill a person. But Jesus says that if our righteousness is going to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, we are not to get angry to the point of sinning. EPH 4:26 26 "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
- As we look at the effects of anger on our lives and the lives of others, we will see why Jesus raised the bar.
- THE EFFECT OF ANGER ON OURSELVES verses 21-22
- Jesus said that according to the Old Testament Law, if you murdered someone, you were sent before the court for judgment. To murder someone is to take a life with malice and aforethought. The court could do one of three things with you.
1. Send Case to Sanhedrin.
2. If it was an accident the person would be confined to a city of refuge.
3. Or you could be executed if found guilty.
B. In verse 22 we see the progression of anger that Jesus condemns. The Amplified Bible translates verse 22 this way – listen and look at the progression that Jesus gives: 22But I say to you that everyone who continues to be [b]angry with his brother or harbors malice (enmity of heart) against him shall be [c]liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court; and whoever speaks contemptuously and insultingly to his brother shall be [d]liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, You [e]cursed fool! [You empty-headed idiot!] shall be [f]liable to and unable to escape the hell (Gehenna) of fire.
- Anger without a just cause. We can be angry at sin, (RIGHTEOUS ANGER John 2:14-16. Money changers) but we are not to have anger toward people. Jesus says that if we go down that path that we are guilty before the court.
- 1 John 3:15 (NLT) John tells us that 15 Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.
- Jesus is dealing with the attitude that goes on behind the action. When the anger is not there, the sin of further consequence will not happen.
- Kansas University football player Dion Rayford was arrested after getting stuck in a drive-thru window. When employees at a Taco Bell forgot his chalupa, he tried to go in after them. The 6’ 3", 260-pound man did not quite make it through the tiny drive-thru window. Rayford was charged with several misdemeanors and was suspended from playing in the last game of his career.
- The next step, contempt. The word “RACCA” that is found in many translations is a transliteration of the original word. There is not a real good word in the English to translate it to. The gist of the word is that you are saying something with great contempt outwards toward another person.
- The first step in the anger process is a silent anger, which then manifests itself in contemptible speech, hateful speech towards another.
- When you get to this point, then you go to the higher court. We need to understand that Jesus is using a literary device to give us a way to understand the varying degrees of severity. It is apparent from the scriptures that there are degrees of reward and punishment.
- The third progression in the anger process is a settled hatred. The term “you fool” is a translation of a statement that denotes a fixed and settled hatred for another person.
- In this most serve form of anger, Jesus switches from the illustration of where the punishment is ordered to the punishment itself.
- Anger is a form of murder because its desire is to destroy anyone who blocks our paths to satisfaction or assaults us or who makes us look bad.
- Anger also gives us a false view of ourselves. The Pharisees thought they were righteous because they did not commit the act of murder. When we are angry with people, many times we do not see the problem with that since we are not really “doing” anything wrong. Jesus scolded the Pharisees over being clean on the outside, but dirty on the inside. Listen to this passage and think about how it applies to us today.
- Matthew 23:25-26 (NIV) 25 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
- If you are harboring anger, you are hurting yourself and you are putting yourself at odds with God. We will look at what to do about that later.
II. THE EFFECT OF ANGER ON OUR WORSHIP 23-24 - As we look at verse 23, you will see a shift in thought. The shift goes from you to others. Jesus tells us if we know of a brother (in Christ context wise) that WE are to go to THEM and try to settle the issue. The focus is on the OTHER person, not YOU.
- In the context of verses 23-24, to us today, Jesus is saying, “if you are going to church to worship God” and you know of a brother who has something against you, stop, go to them, ATTEMPT to fix the problem and then come to church and worship.
- The ‘therefore” of verse 23 ties this verse with the consequences of having an angry spirit. Jesus is telling us that if we are angry or if we have caused another to be angry with us, we cannot properly worship God until we have tried to make it right.
- Verse 23 really puts us on a course of reconciliation. We are not responsible for the way people react to our efforts, but only for our effort.
- I used to take this to deal with only communion or offering time, but Jesus says that when we are angry with others or they have issues with us, our VERY worship is affected in a negative way. WE will look further at the course of reconciliation in a moment.
- THE EFFECT OF ANGER ON OTHERS is very dangerous
- Every year bombs go off - they turn up--and sometimes blow up--at construction sites, in fishing nets, or on beaches fifty years after the guns fell silent. "Hundreds of tons of explosives are recovered every year in France alone. "Unexploded bombs become more dangerous with time. ’With the corrosion inside, the weapon becomes more unstable, the detonator can be exposed.’" What is true of lingering bombs is also true of lingering anger. Buried anger will explode when we least expect it.
- How many people do you know who have been blown up by old bombs left behind by you?
- Think about what anger does to other people. When we are mad at people, what do we do? We drag more people into the fray.
- How can we sing praises to God when we have done something to cause another person to stumble?
- Anger destroys people. I was watching a police videos show on Fox the other night. A man was paralyzed in a car accident from a few years ago. He was angry so he finally went looking for his friend who caused his paralysis to shoot him. When he could not find the friend, he shot the guy who sold his friend the car.
- In one of the first churches that I served that had a holiness background and some of the people felt that they had attained perfection – but 2 brother-in-laws hadn’t spoken to each other in so many years because of their anger. When I asked one of the men what the problem was he just stammered over and over – turning beet red all he could get out was the word “He.” They had sat in the same church for years and because one guy had something offensive to his sister-in-law. They wouldn’t forgive one another.
- Have you ever noticed that sometimes we get angry and remain bitter with people and actually forget why we’re so upset?
- Take, for example, the notorious Hatfield-McCoy feud. It hit newspaper front pages in the 1880’s, when the Hatfield clan feuded with the McCoy clan from across the border in Kentucky. Historians disagree on the cause of the feud -- which captured the imagination of the nation during a 10-year run. Some cite Civil War tensions: McCoys sympathized with the Union, Hatfields with the Confederacy. Others say it began when the McCoys blamed the Hatfields for stealing hogs. As many as 100 men, women and children died. In May 1976, Jim McCoy and Willis Hatfield -- the last two survivors of the original families -- shook hands at a public ceremony dedicating a monument to six of the victims. McCoy died Feb. 11, 1984, at age 99. He bore no grudges -- and had his burial handled by the Hatfield Funeral Home in Toler, KY.
- Anger has such serious effects that Jesus tells us to deal with it before we come to worship Him.
- THE PATH OF RECONCILIATION vs.24 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Jesus gives us the first step in the reconciliation process. Go. Jesus tells us to go be reconciled with our brother. This means that we need to recognize what we did and that we are to be Christian enough to go to the person we wronged and try to make it right.
- It will be up to the other person to forgive, but that is not our problem.
- The second step is found in verse 25. Make friends quickly with your opponent at law. This verse shows that the brother who has something against you has a legitimate issue.
- In Jesus day, if you had an issue with someone, it was up to you to get them to the court of law.
- Jesus says as this is happening, make friends quickly with them.
- A preacher saw this in rush-hour traffic from suburban Maryland to Washington D.C. This traffic pattern can cause its share of near misses and irritating moments. One morning, a young lady darted her compact car from a side street into the stream of traffic immediately in front of a driver just a few car lengths ahead of me, forcing him to brake sharply. He avoided hitting her by inches and was obviously furious. Within seconds, traffic stopped at a red light, and I watched him pull up behind the offender, leap from his car, and stride angrily toward hers. Clearly, he intended to give her a royal bowling out. Seeing him coming, the very attractive young lady jumped from her car and ran to meet him--a big smile on her face! Before he could say one word or know what was happening, she had thrown her arms around him, hugged him tightly, and planted a passionate kiss on his lips! Then she was back in her car and driving away, leaving her antagonist standing in the middle of the street still speechless and looking somewhat confused and embarrassed--but no longer angry!
- She knew how to make friends quickly. Maybe others who saw this will try to let her cut them off also.
- Verse 25 tells us that just as with earthy problems, it is better to resolve them before the judgment comes.
- Hebrews 12:14-15 (NIV) encourages us 14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
- Jesus said that our righteousness is to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisee’s if we are going to enter into heaven.
- Most people would be able to stand before God and say that they have not killed a person, but how many of us could say that we never hated a person or harbored anger and contempt toward another person.
- Jesus wants our hearts to be pure as well as our actions, he desires worship, not just merely outward religion.
- I hope that this morning if you are harboring hatred or anger toward another brother so sister in Christ, or if you know a brother or sister has something against you, that you will take the high road and make reconciliation efforts.
- Harboring anger has devastating effects on your life, your relationship with God and the lives of others.
· DO not let anger tear you apart, let it go, give it to Jesus.