Jesus said some convicting things: “I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” Matthew 5v22. He has just cited a mix of the Old Testament and Jewish teaching, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I …” .
We can have a tendency to judge by consequences. Most earthly justice systems agree with the Jewish teaching – to deliberately take someone’s life is considered an offence subject to judgment. However, Jesus is more interested in the heart and God judges by the heart. Anger may or may not lead to murder, but that anger, according to Jesus is what is subject to judgment.
If we are taking Jesus’ teaching seriously, then we have to examine ourselves. I may not have committed murder, but I may have got angry. We need to ask ourselves the deeper question, “Why do I get angry?” – not with a focus on the external circumstance or what someone else is doing to me, but on what it is in my heart that is provoked to anger. It is extraordinary that God, though sin is detestable to him is “slow to anger, and abounding in love.” (Exodus 34v16) This was shown perfectly in Jesus who was “led like a lamb to the slaughter, and … he did not open his mouth.” Isaiah 53v7
May the Lord keep changing our hearts so that we may be “slow to anger, and abounding in love.”
With love and blessing,