Summary: This is what Jesus teaches about anger and how to deal with it.
Matthew 5:21-26, 38-48
INTRODUCTION: Does being angry condemn you to hell as these verses indicate?
I. Jesus’ interpretation of the Sixth Commandment
A. Pharisees and Scribes had taught that only outright murder was forbidden by the commandment.
B. Sinful anger builds through 3 stages
1. Basic anger
a. Even when justifiable and righteous, likely to become sinful
2. Insulting words
a. “Raca” = airhead
3. Judgmental anger – Contempt for others
a. “You fool” = moron – morally wasted
C. Even this sinful anger is not a sentence to hell.
1. Jesus accurately defined verbal murder - long-lived, nursed anger
D. Jesus demonstrated appropriate anger
1. Clearing of the temple
2. Matt 23:33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers…”
II. The high duty of reconciliation
A. You cannot truly worship with anger in your heart
1. First example given by Jesus concerning gift at altar
B. Reconciliation often means swallowing your pride
1. Second example given by Jesus concerning court
2. Matthew Henry: “While we are alive, we are on the way to the judgment seat; after death, it will be too late.” When you consider the importance of the case we need to make amends immediately.
3. If your pride prevents your apology, you have sinned twice. “Many reconciliations have failed because the 2 people were ready to forgive, but not ready to be forgiven.”
4. Nothing is more powerful than an apology
III. EYE FOR EYE AND LOVE YOUR ENEMY
A. I4I = limiting of vengeance, beginnings of mercy
1. Jesus goes further – DO MORE THAN IS REQUIRED!
a. turn the other cheek
b. give your cloak as well – Jewish law on cloaks
c. go 2 miles – Roman law
d. Matthew Henry: “If anyone says flesh and blood cannot pass by such an affront, let them remember: Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven.”
B. Love for enemies and PRAYER for persecutors
1. Very difficult command.
a. Jesus says tax collectors and pagans are our equivalent.
b. Everyone loves their brother, we should love all children of God.
c. Prov 25:21-22 “If your enemy is hungry give him food, if he is thirsty, give him to drink, in doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
d. God’s revenge is the best revenge
2. Treasures in heaven. ILLUS: Arthur Ashe v. Ilie “Nasty” Nastase – Ashe quit the match rather than lose control in anger at Nastase’s style. Rather than forfeit Ashe, the judges disqualified Nastase for unsportsmanlike conduct.
C. Two greatest commandments according to Jesus
1. Love God = Reverence
2. Love your neighbor = Respect
3. “All the OT hinges on these two commandments”
Conclusion: Rom 12:18 – If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. FOCUS ON GOD: ILLUS: Mrs. Fulton Oursler (he wrote “Greatest Story Ever Told”) when angry, don’t count to ten, say first ten words of Lord’s Prayer “Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” CHALLENGE: Take some time to make things right with your neighbor this week.