Summary: There is a right way and a wrong way to handle anger!
1. Illus. of my first church
• Tensions in the church over last pastor.
• Found out later that some were so angry that they were bringing firearms into the worship service!
2. The church is a divine/human institution. It is divine because Jesus is the head. It is human because we are the body! Because we are sinful and imperfect humans, there are going to be times when one member of the body will be at odds with another member of the body.
• I will get mad at you.
• You will get mad at me.
• This person over here will get mad at that person over there.
3. How we handle that anger can make a drastic difference in our relationship with God. I John 1:3 If I am going to be right with my Father, I have to stay right with my brother!
4. Sermon on Mount = constitution of the Kingdom.
5. Text: Jesus told His disciples that as citizens of His Kingdom they had to handle their anger appropriately.
6. Today: If we are going to be disciples, we must learn to handle anger in Kingdom fashion.
7. What are our options for handling anger?
I. WE CAN NUTURE OUR ANGER
1. Vs 22a- Anger is "orge" and it refers to a slow meditative anger, an anger that plots ways to get even, to make the other person pay. In addition, this phrase “anyone who is angry” is a present tense, meaning a continuing practice. The NEB captures the essence of this verse perfectly when it translates it “everyone who nurses anger in their heart.”
2. One option is to allow anger to become a grudge, and refuse to let it go!
3. Illus. of my dog and cat
• When cat died, we buried her on backside of the farm. Dog dug body up from shallow grave and brought it back into yard.
• No matter where we buried it, he continued to bring that moldering, rotting, and corrupted body back into yard and play with it.
• I know so many Christians who do that same thing. Years ago someone spoke a hurtful word to them, or committed a hurtful deed against them. Instead of letting it go, they keep digging it up and dragging it around, resurrecting it’s rotting and corrupted corpse time and time again.
4. You say, “Tim, wasn’t there some less offensive way to illustrate this point?” Yes, but I wanted to drive home to you just how offensive this practice is to God!
6. If you choose to nurture anger, then you are choosing an option that God finds offensive and unacceptable!
II. WE CAN VERBALIZE OUR ANGER
1. Vs 22b- “Raca”- Aramaic word, means blockhead or dimwit. Was a slam against someone’s mental abilities. “You fool” was a Hebraism, used to refer to a person who did not know God. It was the equivalent to saying, “you’re going to bust hell wide open.”
2. Do you see the picture? Here is a guy that is filled with anger, and he chooses to just explode verbally all over the person he is angry with. He gets red in the face, and he begins to shout. “You idiot! You numbskull! I doubt you are even a Christian!”
3. Illus. of a pastor friend of mine
• Let me tell you what happened in a church a friend pastored.
• Made announcements in church, Made some joke a good brother didn’t like. Cornered him after the service, blessed him out good.
• You could see the veins standing out in his neck, and his face was flushed with anger!
• You could see it on his face. “Well, I guess I told him!”
• That’s exactly what Jesus is talking about in our text.
4. There’s only one problem. This abuse of our tongue is sin! Ephesians 4:31. Note evil speaking (speech that tears down). One noted NT scholar translates this phrase, “put away all… abusive speech…” When we respond this way, all we are really doing is abusing verbally the person we are angry with.
5. When you choose to handle your anger this way, you are choosing to handle your anger sinfully.
III. WE CAN SHORT-CURCUIT OUR ANGER
1. Vs 23- When there is a problem between our brother and us we are to go to our brother and seek to deal with it person to person, face to face. “Reconciled” is Greek word "dialassomai." Not used anywhere else in NT. In secular Greek, was used to describe the way two warring parties would sit down at bargaining table and negotiate, so that they didn’t have to be at war anymore.