Matthew 5:21-24 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift…” (Jesus’ words)
As it's nearly impossible to be at peace and be angry at the same time, it stands to reason that releasing anger is a necessary step to finding peace.
Our pastor, Ted Cunningham, spoke this Sunday on Jesus' words regarding anger. Despite the valid reasons for becoming angry (another's sin, hating what God hates, etc.), most of our anger stems from a prideful bed of selfishness.
I'm inconvenienced, therefore I'm angry.
You didn't meet my expectations, therefore I'm angry.
I'm not understood, therefore I'm mad at the person who just doesn't get it.
I can't control you or it or... well, anything, and so, I'm angry over that too.
When I find myself angry at other people, the root I pull up usually resembles fear of some sort. I'm afraid of what they could do to me, afraid of what they think, afraid that I... (you fill in the blanks).
Lately God has really been convicting my heart of anger, unreleased, bitter, festering anger that shows me how prideful I am, how entitled I feel, and how I need to extend more grace and mercy... even to myself.
With that anger often comes slander. I often justify my slashing comments by saying, "Well, I'm just blowing off steam... and it's usually only to my husband, and that's not really gossip because he's my other half." Right?
Then why does my heart feel so shamed and dirty after I speak the words? What good do they benefit me? or my husband? or my attitude? I've made a commitment to attempt (I know I'll fail) to first speak a prayer for the person who frustrates me than to speak a harsh word against them. I know that prayer softens us and reveals our own inhibitions or cold malice towards another human.
"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. For man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." James 1:19-20
Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. Proverbs 14:29
But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Colossians 3:8, 12-13