|Matthew 5:21-26 |
21 You have heard that it was said to them of old, 'You shall not kill, and whoever kills shall be in danger of the judgment.'
22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother will be subjected to judgment;3 and whoever says to his brother, 'Raca,' [in contempt] shall be in danger of the council; but he who says, 'you fool,' shall be in danger of hell fire. [From the Word of the Lord within: "Do not be misled; anger must be eliminated to enter the kingdom."]
23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and remember that your brother has something against you;
24 Leave your gift there before the altar and go your way; and first be reconciled to your brother, then come and offer your gift.
25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him; lest at any time the adversary delivers you to the judge, and the judge delivers you to the officer, and you are cast into prison. [Jesus uses prison as a metaphor for Hell; he is pleading for men to do right and warning them of the consequences of doing wrong. Luke 12:35-59 gives more detail of this pleading.]
26 Truly I say that you shall by no means get out, until you have paid the last penny. [Notice! When in Hell you have paid the last penny for your debt of sins committed on earth, you get out; Hell is not forever. We trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 1 Tim 4:9-10. See Is There Hope for All for more details and more scriptures that support Hell not being forever.]
3 You have heard that it was said to them of old, 'You shall not kill, and whoever kills shall be in danger of the judgment.' But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother will be subjected to judgment. Notice that the Lord has just likened anger to murder, and in fact when you are angry with someone, in your heart you have murdered them; just like later in that chapter's verses, He explains that looking at a woman with lust is committing adultery in your heart. John gives us further evidence that anger is murder in your heart: Whoever hates his brother has committed murder [in his heart], and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 1 John 3:15. From the Word of the Lord within: "Do not be misled; anger must be eliminated to enter the kingdom."
Both anger and lust are sins from within the heart that only the Lord can remove, but we must go to him, and must wait on him — listening in humble silence with need for the grace of his heart-and-soul-purifying power. For our hearts to become pure of sin, we must patiently and persistently sit to wait, watch, listen, hear, obey... wait, watch, listen, hear, obey..... seek, listen, obey..
The Lord judges; we are forbidden to judge. The Lord exacts vengeance; we are forbidden to do so. The Lord kills and makes alive; we are forbidden to take life. The Lord has his godly anger, (in combination with grief and sorrow), against men who are religious hypocrites, still sinning; we are forbidden to be angry with anyone.
Anger is the opposite of forgiveness. You cannot forgive someone and still be angry with them. Note, only the King James and New King James have the added the words "without cause" to anger. Of the five Bibles offered in parallel, you will notice that only the King James and New King James have diluted this warning by adding "without cause." Most scholars believe that a translator could not believe his anger was wrong and therefore inserted the words, "without cause," in a later text that the earlier texts now available do not include. How could any man distinguish between what is "with cause" and what is "without cause?" It is impossible for every man to be able to guess what God considers "with cause" or "without cause;" every man would have a different opinion, and God has only one opinion — no degree of anger is acceptable by God because to harbor anger is to fail to forgive. Look at the parable of settling accounts, concluded below:
Then his lord, after he had called him, said to him, 'O you wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt because you asked me.
Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, even as I had pity on you?'
And his lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors, until he should pay all that was due to him.
So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also to you, if each of you from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses. Mat 18:32-35
There is no excuse for anger; it is part of the beastly nature in man. The Lord is our proof. As he was crucified, he prayed for the Father to forgive those who were crucifying him for they didn't know what they were doing. He is the ultimate example. There is no greater injustice than for his own people to have crucified him, when he had healed entire cities of every sickness and disability, raised the dead, restored the sight of the blind, and spoke nothing but truth; yet as he was in unimaginable pain and dying, he prayed for their forgiveness. Now, if there ever was a justification for anger, this horrible crucifixion of the most humble man to walk the earth, had to be the one; yet the Lord did not get angry. So, by his monumental forgiveness of those who murdered him, we know there is never justification for us holding onto anger. He was sorrowful, with sorrow almost to death, knowing what would happen to him. And his reaction was sorrow at the colossal injustices he suffered, but not anger; sorrow, not for himself, but sorrow for how wrong his errant children were.
There are many who justify their anger saying: "the Lord got angry when he drove the moneychangers out of the temple." My reply is: "no, he was not angry like a man gets angry; he was under perfect control and knew exactly what he was doing, for he said he never judged anything himself because he only judged as he heard the Father's judgments; further he only said what he heard the father tell him to say, and only did exactly what the Father instructed him to do. John 12:49-50, 5:19,30, 14:31" Anger is a judgment that we make ourselves, and when we judge someone else critically, we suffer the same judgment: Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and filthy communication out of your mouth. Col 3:8. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. Eph 4:31. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Mat 6:14-15. The anger of man does not lead to the righteousness of God. James 1:20.
See the page on Forgiving Others is Critical for suggestions on how to give up anger.