“But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment” (Matthew 5:22 KJV).
I had been so excited to watch one particular episode of a Christian series. Because of that, my disappointment was comparatively intense when I realized a key phrase was left out of this Bible verse. I was sensitive to it, because of a previous abuse of the same scripture in a sermon I witnessed years ago.
Certainly, we are all well advised against nursing anger. Yes. But there is a difference between nursing anger and being angry for good reason. Note this:
“That malice and revenge which would delight in deeds of violence is of itself murder. Jesus goes further still, and says, ‘Whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the Judgment.’ There is an anger that is not of this criminal nature. A certain kind of indignation is justifiable, under some circumstances, even in the followers of Christ. When they see God dishonored, his name reviled, and the precious cause of truth brought into disrepute by those who profess to revere it, when they see the innocent oppressed and persecuted, a righteous indignation stirs their soul; such anger, born of sensitive morals, is not a sin. Among the listeners [to Jesus during this Sermon on the Mount scene] are those who congratulate themselves upon their righteousness because they have committed no outward crime, while they are cherishing in their hearts feelings of the same nature as that which prompts the assassin to do his fearful deed. Yet these men make professions of piety, and conform to the outward requirements of religion. To such Jesus addresses these words:—
“‘Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.’ He thus shows that crimes originate in the mind, and those who permit hatred and revenge to find a place in their hearts have already set their feet in the path of the murderer, and their offerings are not acceptable to God. The only remedy is to root out all bitterness and animosity from the heart.” 2SP 219.3 – 220.1
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31 KJV).
That is the goal: being to others as God has been toward us for the sake of His Son Jesus. And I believe we all can confirm that God has treated us better than we deserve.
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear slow to speak slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:19, 20 KJV).
Dear Heavenly Father, Please bless me to be toward others as You have been toward me. Give me a genuine spirit of love and compassion and forgiveness and mercy, that I may rightly represent You and be found pleasing in Your sight and a blessing to others. In the worthy name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
NOTE: These devotionals began as daily texts to encourage my academy roommate and dear friend of nearly 50 years, until she suddenly passed a few weeks ago (Feb 2023). Now I continue to compile and send them to anyone who wants to receive them and to her family in honor of their mom. First, I pray and look for a Bible verse or passage and find a suitable commentary (or vice versa) and add a prayer. Some days, only a Scripture and prayer are ordered. I might even add a song. If you agree to receive them, then this way I not only honor God but the memory of a very dear friend whom I desperately miss. My personal prayer is that God will bless me to find ways to multiply this gift. So please feel free to forward to your loved ones or to anyone, as God leads you. I’m calling them Barb’s Devotionals.