Read Matthew 5:21-26.
Though it may not seem like it at first, the Torah or Law, which is comprised of the first five books of the Bible, was a precious gift to the people of Israel. God's law teaches us how to live in a manner pleasing to God—a manner that is also for our good. It also points us to our need for a Savior since none of us can keep His commands perfectly. But the law also reveals something else: the very heart of God.
Jesus shocked His listeners by declaring that the sin of selfish anger is tantamount to murder.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus brought the Truth home, clarifying the heart of God. Beginning with the commandment not to murder, Jesus shocked His listeners by declaring that the sin of selfish anger is tantamount to murder. How can that be? Because that's where murder starts—in a person's heart.
Murder starts with a selfish, prideful motive. And so, Jesus was saying to the self-righteous Pharisees in the crowd, "Righteousness is not only a matter of external things. Righteousness does not exist only on the surface. Righteousness is not true righteousness if it only comes out when other people are watching." That is why He could say, "Anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment" (Matthew 5:22).
I think most of us know that anger takes many forms, ranging from slight irritation to full-blown, uncontrollable rage, but all unrighteous anger stems from pride and self-righteousness. It creeps up when we don't get our way, when someone criticizes us, or when we're overlooked.
Smoldering anger, if left unchecked, will destroy a person from the inside out. It will also destroy a person's relationship with God, for no one can know Jesus as Savior and Lord and still nurse hatred toward another (see 1 John 4:20). That is why Jesus' message to us is this: Repair whatever breach you may have with a brother or sister in Christ so that you can truly settle the breach between yourself and God.
Brothers and sisters, if there's a conflict in your life, deal with it as soon as you can. Resolve here and now to dig up these roots of bitterness. When you forgive others and make peace with those you've hurt, you will be amazed at what the Holy Spirit will do—and you'll also bear witness to the transforming power of God to redeem and renew His children.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for being quick to anger. Help me to humble myself as You have humbled Yourself, that I might live in peace with all as far as it depends on me (Romans 12:18). I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment" (Matthew 5:22).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon series Appropriating the Happiness That Is in You: WATCH NOW