21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. Matthew 5:21-22
I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like traffic. It seems the days when I’m in the biggest hurry, the traffic is heaviest. As I sit in the long line of cars inching forward, I’ve often found my blood boiling. Anger can rise in me as cars honk, swerve, and cut me off. I feel frustrated when I miss the light or realize I’ll be late to my appointment. The anger that arises often spills over into other parts of my day as well.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we all get angry at times. We all have to deal with our anger. Perhaps for you it is daily traffic, a certain individual, a difficult work situation, or a trying time of life. But have you ever stopped to think about where that anger comes from? What do we do with it? Is it okay to ever be angry? I’ve often wondered these questions myself. In reality, there’s a big difference between righteous anger and anger we try to justify. Righteous anger can come from being outraged at injustice in the world, while justified anger stems from our own issues and insecurities. In the latter, we try to justify our poor behavior through explaining it away or blaming someone else.
In order to overcome misplaced anger in our lives, we first must be aware of it. Over the course of this week, we will be looking at being aware of anger, addressing anger, and arriving at freedom. Today, reflect on the times you regularly get angry and then notice when others were angry with you. What is at the root of your anger? What causes you to get so angry with that person?
Awareness is a crucial step in finding freedom from anger. Consider what it would look like for you to obey Paul’s words “In your anger, do not sin (Eph. 4:26).” Have you committed to bringing your anger to the Lord? Could you pray for that person instead of lashing out in anger? I know these questions really cause me to think and are convicting. Today, we have the opportunity to take one step towards dealing with the anger in our lives.
By Billy Berglund