In “anger management” Jefferson Vann shares Jesus’ words about anger in Matthew 5:21-26. Anger can either be conquered by Christ or it will accompany us to hell and we will be destroyed with it.
Matthew 5:21-26 (JDV)
Matthew 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to the ancient ones, ‘You should not murder; and whoever murders might experience judgment.’
Matthew 5:22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will experience judgment; whoever insults his brother will appear before the Sanhedrin; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will burn up in Gehenna’s fire.
Matthew 5:23 So if you are contributing your gift at the altar and when there you remember that your brother has something against you,
Matthew 5:24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your gift.
Matthew 5:25 Befriend your accuser quickly while you are going with him to court, so your accuser will not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.
Matthew 5:26 I honestly tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last quadrans.
The scribes and Pharisees had played around with the subject of anger, suggesting that people could entertain evil thoughts in their hearts as long as they did not let it go too far, and lead to murder. Jesus taught his disciples to take anger seriously. Nothing is more important that reconciliation. Even a worship gift to God must be abandoned at the temple and a disciple must rush to seek forgiveness and reconciliation. Anger is not to be trifled with.
This generation is adept at making enemies. We polarize at every opportunity, and quickly draw a line in the sand. You cannot even look up the posts in your social network without encountering conflict, and sometimes rage.
We need to take Jesus seriously. He warns us all that any angry thought, no matter how minute, leads to judgment. Left unchecked, anger will lead us all to hell. It is destructive now, leading to broken relationships and lost lives. It will lead many to destruction in Gehenna.
There is no place in God’s eternal kingdom for anger. It is one of the enemies which Jesus Christ will conquer. He will either conquer it through forgiveness and restoration of peace, or the anger will accompany its owner to the fires of hell, and consume the sinner there.
This, my friend, is God’s anger management programme.
With God’s Holy Spirit within us, we have what it takes to turn enemies into friends. We cannot change what people do and say to us, but we can change how we react to them. The price for becoming angry and holding on to that anger is destruction. That price is too high. Anger is not worth it.