Matthew 5:21, 22- “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.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.”
We looked at this tough passage in church yesterday. It goes on to talk of name calling and outward expressions of anger. Surely we all need to hear and heed this stuff. There is another aspect to anger and a sort of judgment that goes along with it that is not directly expressed but maybe lies under the surface here. It deals with the classic Psych 101 definition of depression which is “anger turned inward.” We have our share of angry verbal confrontations in our society and even in the church, but more often I feel like I see individuals weighed down with inner loads and depression and I can’t help wondering how much of that is anger turned inward. Anger is a basic human emotion and we need to learn how to deal with it. When we give up the quest for retaliation or revenge, which is what the passage teaches, there is the path of turning the anger over to God in prayer, sharing it with another trusted friend or confidant, and even dealing with the person who is the source of the anger in an honest, loving attempt at healing and reconciliation. Most of us aren’t mature enough for this last one and too often we turn the second into gossip or character assassination. But if we start with turning our anger over to God at least we have entered the path that could lead to the others and if we don’t enter the path we may be leaving ourselves subject to the judgment of anger turned inward. Do you have some outward or inward anger you need to give to God this week?