Summary: What does Jesus have to say about anger?
After spending 3-1/2 hours enduring the long lines, surly clerks and insane regulations at the Department of Motor Vehicles, I stopped at a toy store to pick up a gift for my son. I brought my selection - a baseball bat - to the cash register. "Cash or charge?" the clerk asked. "Cash," I snapped. Then apologizing for my rudeness, I explained, "I’ve spent the afternoon at the motor vehicle bureau." "Shall I gift-wrap the bat?" the clerk asked sweetly. "Or are you going back there?" submitted by Glenn Vaughan
We can do some crazy things when we allow our anger to take hold of us.
Have you done things while you were angry that you wish you could take back?
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.
In verses 21-48 Jesus gives us six examples of how our righteousness can exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees.
The Pharisees were very religious; they looked good on the outside. When you look at the Old Testament Law, you see that the Law dealt more with actions and not much with the attitudes behind the actions.
The first area that our righteousness is to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees if we want to enter into the kingdom of God is the area of anger.
Today we are going to look at the devastating effects that anger can have on ourselves, on our worship of God and on other people.
Before we get into the effects that we want to look at, we need to look at what Jesus is trying to tell us in verse 21.
In verse 21 Jesus points to the sixth commandment that in found in Exodus 20:13. He says that the ancients were told. This means that Jesus is speaking of the commandment itself, not the interpretation of the commandment as the KJV implies by translating the passage; Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
It is important for us to understand this seemingly subtle difference. If Jesus is dealing with the current interpretation of the Law, He is not replacing it, He is just adding to it whereas if He is dealing with the Law itself, He is replacing it.
The religious leaders thought they were in great shape if they did not kill a person. 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 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
If we are going to be citizens of the kingdom, not murdering a person is not the correct standard by which we are to judge ourselves. As we look over the next few weeks at the six contrasts between the Old Testament Law and the Law of the kingdom of God (the Gospel) we will see the theme of a higher standard of conduct and thought being set before us.
As we look at the effects of anger on our lives and the lives of others, we will see why Jesus raised the bar.
I. THE EFFECT OF ANGER ON OURSELVES 21-22
A. The Progression of anger
Jesus said that according to the Old Testament Law, if you murdered someone, you were sent before the court for judgement. 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. Confine to city of refuge. If it was an accident
3. Execution if found guilty.
In verse 22 we see the progression of anger that Jesus condemns.
1. 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.
In 1 John 3:15, John tells us, Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
Jesus deals not only with the act of murder but the attitude behind it. In 1994 there were 23,305 homicides according to the FBI, a 22% increase since 1985. The notion that the increase is from gang and drug violence is a myth. In 1994 the most common reason for homicide was an argument, representing 28% of all homicides, most occurring at home. The FBI report states that drug and gang killing account for only 7% and .6% respectively.