Riverside Community Church

Murder and Anger

Matthew 5:21-26

I recall an interview Ruth Graham was giving and the interviewer asked her what it was like being married to the famous evangelist, Billy Graham. She replied in a soft tone that it wasn’t easy, not easy at all as Billy has a very strong personality.

The interviewer asked her if then she ever considered divorce, to which she replied, ‘no, divorce never crossed my mind, but murder did.’

Listen to the words of Christ on murder and anger.

Matthew 5:21-26 NIV 

21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder (kill KJV), and anyone who murders (kills KJV) will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

We’ve got it wrong, us humans, we’ve turned our emotion of anger upside down and twisted it into a sin. It’s not what God wants. God doesn’t want us to be wrongly angry with each other, to fly off the handle, to be calling each other a fool or stupid or a waste of skin, or an idiot. No God doesn’t want us holding in anger, this seething anger inside. God doesn’t want this unbridled emotion to turn into hate or murder or even the thought of someone else’s death or misfortune. In fact, Jesus explains that wrong anger in the heart or mind is the same as actually expressing it in actions/words. We’re not even to think inappropriate angry thoughts.

This is radical, new thinking, exampled to the extreme by Jesus. It isn’t that you can’t become angry but rather one must control why you are angry. Anger, 🡪don’t even think wrong angry thoughts.

🡪this lead to a long conversation with the Lord this week, because quite frankly, I didn’t fully understand what Christ was saying but I did have an inkling what Jesus meant and it made me quite uncomfortable if my inkling was true.

George:So, Jesus, if I was driving along minding my own business and following all the rules of the road and then some impetuous driver cuts me off. They clearly wronged me. Now, being a Christian, if I don’t yell at that person or don’t give him the salute or shake my fist at him. No, if I controlled my anger by not expressing it verbally or physically. 

Q Jesus, is that good enough, Jesus, is that what you meant?

Jesus. No, that’s not what I meant but you are ½ right. You didn’t ‘raca’ him or out loud call him a fool. But were you angry?

George: Ok Lord, that leads me to 2 questions.

Q1What’s Raca?

Jesus: ALook it up.

Ok so I did. 

Raca is a noun derived from the Aramaic word ‘rak’ meaning to spit. This word was not translated into Greek, which the Gospel of Matthew was written in, because the Greeks had no habit of spitting as the Semites did. During heated arguments and controversies Easterners often spit into each other’s faces.

A merchant trying to sell a customer at the local market might haggle long and fail to reach an agreed-on price which might result in a spitting exchange or one of them saying ‘raka arek na bapek’, I spit in your face.

George:Whew, Lord, I don’t spit or plan to spit on anyone soon, so I’m good on that. Right Lord?

Lord:Read on, read it all. Oh, and by the way, have you ever called another driver an idiot? (idiot and fool are basically the same thing).

George:You know every word I have ever said and every thought I have ever had, I cannot hide anything from you. You know me Lord and you know all my failings.

Ok, I’ll read the rest of what you said but I have another question after that.

Matthew 5:21-22 Christ said …

21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder (kill KJV), and anyone who murders (kills KJV) will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.

anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject tojudgment.

GeorgeQ2Lord am I angry, do I have anger, even hidden anger?

-here is where my discussion with the Lord, became uncomfortable and unpleasantly searching. This probing by the Holy Spirit into my innermost being as I considered am I ever angry with my brother, my sister, my wife, my children, my friends and with any other people?

Some of you are thinking, I don’t struggle with anger; 

-I let it out and get it out. 

-Or, I don’t struggle with anger; I just don’t cooperate with the people I’m angry with. 

-Or, I don’t struggle with anger; I never let it show. I keep my anger to myself. I bury it inside me.mmm mmm

Anger is something common to man and woman. Anger can be harmful to our physical health, to our spiritual life, and to our relationship with others. Anger can lead us to say or do things that we will later regret. Anger can lead to road rage. Anger can lead to child abuse or spouse abuse. Anger can lead to ulcers. Anger can lead to bitterness and depression.

-I have encountered numerous people who have stifled their personal progress because they could not handle their pent-up anger.”

Anger is universal, but most people don’t know how to deal with anger. Most teachers and parents do not teach us to handle our anger. They simply teach us not to express our anger. 

Most of anger comes from our own pride, ego and self-centeredness, 

-I didn’t get what I want, I didn’t get my way, 

-You aren’t meeting my expectations, my needs, 

-I'm not in control or I’m right, you’re wrong -I just have to be right!

-or you hurt me somehow, my feelings, you’ve done me wrong

So much of bruised egos happens when we feel entitlement. 

What makes you angry? Think carefully about your anger buttons because Christ words and warning is ‘do not be angry with your brother or sister’.

-Over time, we habitually respond to anger in one of three ways. Spew out anger. Seep out anger. Or stuff in (hold in heart) anger.

Spewing out anger is most commonly done at home. Rather than blow up at work and lose your job, you blow up at home. Yell at the children. Complain about the cooking or cleaning. Throw, hit or kick furniture. Angry words said are not kind. Your words and actions hurt others.

Seeping out anger can be done anywhere. Psychologists call this passive-aggressive behavior. You let out your anger in small, almost indiscernible form. You procrastinate, avoid people who we have some hidden anger with, show up late or somehow interfere with the person you are angry at. You use mild sarcasm or uncooperativeness. Anger is seeping out in disguised form. But anger is there.

Stuffing in anger can also be done anywhere. Anger like this can rot your soul, sour your spirit and ruin your life. This is a great danger for Christians, who mistakenly believe that anger is wrong and a sin. Anger is not a sin, but it can lead to sin. The Bible tells us, “In your anger do not sin.” The Bible does not say, “Do not be angry.” Stuffing in anger can lead to emotional, spiritual and physical health problems.

Prisons are filled with people who did not deal with their anger, but let their stuffed-in anger eventually spew out in violent acts. Schools and homes are filled with young people who do not deal with their anger but let their anger seep out in uncooperative behaviors. Even churches have members who do not deal with their anger, but stuff their anger, churches split or members can experience depression or bitterness or resentment.

Jesus Christ, Son of God, was angry. He was angry at the money changers in the temple who were dishonouring His Father’s house, a righteous anger

-Christ was not angry at a personal offence done to Him. In fact, when Christ was being personally misused, abused, mistreated, harmed, injured and eventually killed He did not react with anger but with love and forgiveness. 

-Herein lies the gem of the Christian life ‘do not be angry with your brother or sister’. But rather, do what Christ did when He could have been angry, he wasn’t angry but He loved and forgave. 

-Our forgiving God is love, thank you Lord. Jesus Christ exampled love and forgiveness and now we are to emulate God’s love to everyone. Not to be angry but to respond with love and forgiveness.

-I should be angry, they hurt me, ANGER

-I should be heated, they offended meANGER

-you’re not meeting my needs, I’m buggedANGER

-I’m mad you’re not measuring up to what I wantANGER

-you’re not doing what I want, that annoys meANGER

-I’m disappointed with you, I’m frustratedANGER

-I’m enraged, I’m irritated, I’m angered,YEP  -its ANGER

-I’ve got good reason to be angry, I have to defend myself, I can’t let people treat me this way, I don’t deserve this, 

🡪we justify our anger, we rationalize our anger, we fuel our anger and in the end we hear the words of Christ pointing at our unacceptable anger.

We need to take Christ at His word (& Christ’s words are these) –‘I tell you this, do not be angry with your brother or sister’. 

Let me put it this way -Thus, saith the Lord ‘do not be angry with your brother or sister’.

Paul writes in Ephesians 4:26  “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,

And James writes: James 1:19

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

Are you angry, do you have angry outburst, does anger seep out of you, do you have you buried anger, are you angry right now?

I’m just asking. God was asking me, grinding me up all this week on this issue of anger. So, I’m just passing this question onto you.

Some practical advice on dealing with anger.

1 Guard your mouth, no wait -FIRST -guard your heart.

Look at people from God’s perspective -God loves them like He loves you.

Grow a tougher skin in love, calloused with love.

Guard your heart, Control what you dwell on,

-have you ever seen someone talking to themselves, having an angry type conversation while walking alone? It’s usually they’re angry with someone.

2 Take the hit, Jesus did. Love others

But they hurt me, yes, but they killed Jesus and He still forgave. 

Love them first, then Forgive them, then pray for them.


-you’re a Christian and we follow Christ’s example, not our feelings

3 You don’t have to get them back, (that’s wrong), 

   you don’t have to get even, (That’s not the Jesus way)

   you don’t have to defend yourself 🡪 that’s pride. God will do that

Remember God is your defender,& God will defend you.

Remember God is your avenger -not you & -fear God avenging

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