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In Matthew 5:21-22 Jesus equates anger with murder and solemnly pronounces, “anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment”. That means that when I feel angry I should see a big red flag. Those strong feelings of resentment or contempt, that will to lash out and punish, does not come from God. I will want to justify my feelings and call it “righteous anger” but Jesus assumes that our anger is not usually righteous.

Jesus equates anger with murder partly because, like murder, it treats another person as worthless. That’s why someone’s anger towards us feels like hatred. It can be devastating. But anger is also like murder in that it is so very destructive. Henry Drummond wrote this: "No form of vice, not worldliness, not greed of gold, not drunkenness itself, does more to un-Christianize society than evil temper. For embittering life, for breaking communities, for destroying the most sacred relationships, for devastating homes, for withering up men and women, for taking the bloom off childhood; in short, for sheer gratuitous misery-producing power, this influence stands alone."

Lord, deliver us from anger and from angry people.

When I am angry it is a red flag telling me I am not living under the reign of Christ. When others are angry it says the same of them. When I am angry I forfeit his joy and his peace. His goodness is not in my heart. This anger has no place in the kingdom of God. It does not belong in the church.

But circumstances that cause anger can be redeemed. They are inviting us to quiet our hearts and turn to the Lord in prayer, to draw on his power and to express his character. People living in the power of the kingdom feel pity and compassion for those who sin against them while remaining in the love of God themselves.

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