“You have heard that was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder and anyone who murders is subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” — Matthew 5:21-22a. (NIV)
Whether we’re short-tempered or mild-mannered, we all experience flashes of anger, sometimes for good reason but usually for selfish reasons. A colleague gets a promotion we expected to get. A friend gets flowers for Valentine’s Day and we don’t. A sibling gets more praise from our parents than we do. This anger is dangerous. Jesus likens it to murder — and anger can indeed kill, kill job opportunities, relationships, even family. But it also can kill us from the inside out. When we let anger cut ourselves off from the community we’ve been placed in, we lose a part of ourselves that God has given to us, the part that finds our identity in the people closest to us. In the end, we can, in our anger, cut ourselves off from God. Depending on the seriousness of our anger, we may need to seek the help of a professional to get a handle on it. Meanwhile, we need to take a close look at our anger and what it will cost us. Can we turn over the source of our anger to God and let it go?
Prayer: Loving God, our anger often threatens to kill our relationships and our identity. Help us when we are tempted to anger to turn instead to You the source of all peace and mercy. Amen.
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