Anger is one of the worst emotions to have. Anger will leave you drowning in a sea of other negative emotions. You will go into a downward spiral that can lead to anxiety and depression. It is important that we avoid anger at all costs. There are times that we will become angry at someone or something. How we handle that anger is key.
I discussed the The laws of Jesus in a previous Bible study post. Most of us are aware of the ten commandments. However, Jesus added more to the ten commandments and explained them to us in further detail. You can find this code of ethics in Matthew 5-7. I encourage you to read them on your own. Anger is part of Jesus’s discussion and what we will discuss today.
Read Matthew 5:21-26
Jesus told us in these set of verses that we were given the commandment long ago not to murder. However, He wanted us to know that we were also not to get to a point of murder. Murder in our hearts is also bad. Jesus tells us anger is also subject to judgement.
Jesus clarifies this by telling us that provoking people to anger is bad. When we sling insults at people, their natural reaction is to become angry.
We also have been told before money is the root of all evil. When you owe someone and you do not pay them, it makes them angry. Jesus tells us here to settle our debts with people. We are to pay our portion. Back in Jesus’s time, courts were commonplace for people who owed debts just like they are today. In this era, people were thrown in prison for not paying their share. We face this sometimes with certain debts, but not to the extreme these people did. Regardless, we should make sure we settle our debts as soon as we can.
Sometimes we face financial hardships and cannot do this. Jesus tells us not to avoid, but to reconcile. As hard as it is, we must confront the people we owe and tell them we are going to be late or we cannot pay at all at the moment. Keep in touch with the people you owe. As soon as you get the money, pay them back. They may be upset with you at the moment, but not letting them know nothing at all only fuels anger more.
Another unique part of this scripture is that there were certain people in the crowd listening to Jesus who were all ready angry with him. The Saduccees and the Pharisees were prominent men who laid the laws, claimed to be religious, and were in charge at that time. They did not like Jesus coming in and stealing their thunder. They found every way they could to claim He was evil and they would eventually be part of the reason for His death. I am certain this message was for them as well. Jesus was aware of this and wanted them to understand His message. After all they had been doing to Him, He still hoped for their salvation.
Lastly, Jesus tells us that we should solve these problems before we approach him. We cannot be seething with anger and at the same time worship God. We need to settle those matters. It is okay to pray for relief and guidance on how to handle your anger. You must handle your anger quickly and reconcile. God will guide you in times of struggle and frustration, but He desires we handle these matters the best we can and as soon as possible.
We must remember: people can remain angry with us if they choose. Sometimes things will not go exactly as we planned. If we do things right and they choose not to accept it, it is now on them and not you.
What anger does to you
Stop and think of all the times you have been angry. Think of the times you have provoked people to anger. The reason Jesus tells us to avoid these things is because it can lead to a path of destruction.
Psychology books will even explain to you the dangers of a angry person. Anger will lead to emotions that will lead to bitterness, envy, jealousy, emotional hurt, and mental stress. It can also become very dangerous depending upon your level of anger. Anger can also lead to rage, irrational behavior, abusive behavior, and even murder. The violence you commit through rage is often things you would never do otherwise.
Anger destroys relationships and friendships. People do not like being around those exhibiting anger. It isolates us from others. It also isolates us from God.
Can you think of a character in the Bible who exhibits all these traits of anger? You guessed it right if you said Satan. Satan was so angry for no good reason that he lost his position in Heaven. Those who chose to be angry with him, lost theirs too. These unseen forces are roaming the earth today and are still filled with rage. Keep in mind, Satan had a wonderful position in Heaven. We know he was a Cherub that was in charge of worship and was over one third of all the angels. We learn a little about the cherubs in the Bible. When you read about them, they are surrounding the throne of God. What a glorious position he threw away.
There will be times when we get angry and people will get angry with us. Jesus gives us some very useful tools on how to avoid provoking others to anger and tells us not to be angry ourselves. Here are some ways to avoid anger:
Self Control: Before you fly of the handle at someone, think about things and then react to the problem. There are times you have a right to be angry, but we need to handle it correctly. Approach the person when you are calm and explain to them what upset you. Decide that after that conversation (no matter what happens), you will let it go.
Pick and choose your battles: some things are not worth the anger to begin with. Stop and think about what is making you angry. Is it worth it? Sometimes it is better just to let things go. Keeping our mouths shut can be hard, but it can also be beneficial.
Thought control: Do not allow anger to remain in your mind. Make a decision that you are going to refuse to allow anger to take over. Change your behavior and decide to be happy. This is easier said than done. However, you can curb your thoughts. What keeps your mind off of things? Perhaps getting involved in a conversation with a friend, reading a book, watching a movie, playing a game, or getting involved in a project would help. Bible study, listening to sermons, or reading uplifting articles always helps me. You get a sense of peace when you do these things. After a while, the anger will start to subside.
Settle issues ASAP- any problem you have whether it is a conflict or debt, try and settle it quickly. You want to be on good terms with people as often as possible. Most of the time, it will be heated for a bit and then it will go away. If you angered someone, apologize.
Pray: Praying to God about healing from negative emotions truly works. Ask for guidance and protection from these thoughts.
Jesus wants His people to be the salt and the light of the earth. It is impossible to do this while angry. We have unseen forces in this world that love to see us in turmoil. Listening to Jesus’s words and obeying His commands is the best way to avoid these issues. Do you know God? I encourage you to get the peace that comes with faith and belief in Jesus Christ.
I would like to thank Ian Espinosa @unsplash for the featured image on this post.
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