Summary: The second message in a 7-Part Series, Shift - A New Way of Thinking. Today's message from Matthew 5:21-26 explores Jesus' thoughts on anger.
The Danger of Anger • Matthew 5:21-26
Opening: What makes you angry? Maybe it’s when someone cuts you off in traffic. It could be rude ppl or arrogant ppl who think they know all the answers. Maybe your spouse makes you angry… He always leaves his dirty socks inside-out on the floor. She squeezes the toothpaste from the dent in the middle of the tube. It makes you angry. Could be your boss… ppl you work with… might be little things… it might be big things…
There are some big things that make me angry but its little things that tirp me up. I love college football… but I don’t particularly enjoy watching particular games with others… College Football TV eitiquitte… some ppl take phone calls… ppl talk through the entire game… 2 types.. 1) never know what’s going on… (whos that guy…what happened…why… 2) thinks they are expert… (I can’t believe he did that… why call that play… his problem is… here it comes…) & you just talk & talk… God will deal with you one day…
Stats on Anger
Anger is an emotion. It affects us in a number of ways…
Internally – increases heart rate… blood pressure… level of adrenaline… anger becomes the predominant feeling when we make the conscious choice to take action against whatever we feel is a threat (road rage)
Externally – facial expressions… body language… make loud sounds… clinch teeth… stare with a glare…
Anger is a part of life…
Introduction: The danger for the Kingdom person is NOT that they might become angry. The danger is when anger is MISHANDLED it can eat away the SOUL like cancer.
Transition: The Bible is not silent on this matter. Reading in Matthew this week… MT 12:33-37 (tree & fruit) & MT 15:10-20). What is happening in our hearts impacts how we live. BC of this reality, Jesus begins with the 6th Commandment.
I. Jesus ARTICULATES the MESSAGE of the commandment. (vv 21-22)
According to the Mosaic Law, person who committed murder had to appear before court & be judged. Jesus uses an interesting style that we will have to wrestle with throughout the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus equates anger to murder. Now some might raise the question: What about righteous anger? Jesus grew angry at times. I would say that is true. But before we just jump to that… I think we need to acknowledge that Jesus here equates murder to anger. Let’s allow that to stand for a moment before we justify anger.
Angry liable to judgment = Jewish Civil Court (Deut 16:18)
Insults = RACA = term of abuse (“empty-headed”); council = Sanhedrin (highest court)
You Fool = attitude
Gehenna = transliteration two Hebrew words =
Valley of Hinnom = ravine South of Jerusalem where rubbish was dumped and burned constantly = euphemism for constant “fire of hell”. Not a graduation of terms… just mult. examples
Jesus essentially says, “you think you are removed from this commandment bc you haven’t committed murder… Have you not hated? Have you never wished someone dead?
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil. Ephesians 4:26-27
Topos = opportunity, location, place, room
Two Extremes That Give the Devil a Guestroom (adopted from LifeChurch.tv sermon)
1. SPEWERS express their anger. (Walking volcano uncertain of time erupt)
A fool gives full vent to his spirit (anger), but a wise man quietly holds it back. Prov29:11
A man of quick temper acts foolishly,… Proverbs 14:17
2. STEWERS suppress their anger. (manipulate by their mood. Bitterness)
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. Psalm 32:3
Jesus & Paul would say anger is not the sin… the danger of anger is when it is nurtured and justified and encouraged. Whether we tend to SPEW or STEW. There is a place for burning anger re: sin & injustice. Our problem is that we burn not for sin & injustice but at offense to ourselves. JESUS NEVER wrapped ego into it. 1 PTR 2:23
II. Jesus ILLUSTRATES the MEANING of the commandment. (vv 23-26)
1st Illustration: person comes to perform his religious duty but who has offended his brother. Jesus reveals that it is more important to be reconciled to the brother than to discharge our religious duty… bc the religious duty becomes a sham if the worshiper has misbehaved so poorly that his brother has something against him. Forget the worship service – be reconciled and only then worship God.
John R.W. Stott gives this verse a modern gloss… “If you are in church, in the middle of worship, and you suddenly remember that you brother has a grievance against you, leave church at once and put it right. Do not wait until the service has ended. Seek out your brother and ask his forgiveness. First go, then come. First go and be reconciled to your brother, then come and offer your worship to God.”