Monday, November 28, 2011

Anger Without a Cause

Matthew 5:21-22 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' (22)  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.

After Jesus said that he had not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it, he began to interpret a couple of the commandments. Bear in mind that he is still dealing with the issues of outward righteousness verses inward. His point is that there is a difference between the letter of the Law and the spirit of the Law. He starts with the sixth commandment (killing) and the issue of anger and then proceeds to the seventh commandment (adultery) and the issue of lust.

Of course, there is a difference between murder and self-defense or accidental death (Num. 35:16-25) and the Law recognizes that.

On this basis, the Lord gave the interpretation of the commandment not to kill.
Again, he is taking the Law from the physical to the spiritual. He said, basically, you're guilty of murder if you are simply angry with your brother without a cause.

Unfortunately, the NIV has done a rather poor job in proper translating this verse for it just says, "But I tell that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment."
In the Majority Text it says, "But I tell that anyone who is angry with his brother without a cause will be subject to the judgment." If God condemned for being angry we would all be in Hell.

Obviously, the fact that the words are there indicate that there is a cause to be angry. Jesus looked on the hypocritical Pharisees with anger (Mark 3:5). Jesus did get angry, but he had a cause. The Bible says that God is angry with the wicked every day (Ps. 7:11). Even Paul agrees that there is a way to be angry and yet not sin (Eph. 4:26-27). So, the bottom line is that to justify anger, there must be a cause.

You see, anger is that feeling which we have when we are injured.
It is sometimes totally appropriate to respond in anger. Quite frankly, there needs to be more of it in the church today.

However, the anger that Jesus is condemning here is the anger without a cause.
That is anger that is unjustly, rashly, hastily, where no offense has been given or intended. In that case it is evil; and it is a violation of the sixth commandment.

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