Matthew 5: 21-26
In Matthew chapter 5:21-26, we continue our study of the righteousness that exceeds the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. In the Beatitudes Jesus gave His Disciples some of the most clear, direct, and challenging instruction on how to have a heart like His, and how we can be light and salt in this world. Then we ended our last study with verse 20, where Jesus encouraged the disciples to have a righteousness that exceeds the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. We looked at the importance of having a sincere heart, versus being hypocritical, because Jesus viewed the Pharisees as hypocrites. They did everything for an external show, to be seen by men for their praise and acceptance. Their righteousness was only external. In this sermon, Jesus was encouraging His Disciples to have an internal righteousness, which is sincere and from the heart. Consequently, from verse 21 to the end of this fifth chapter, Jesus takes five Old Testament passages and He explains the true intent of the law. He reveals that the law was never intended to be just some external action that we perform. He shows that the Law was to deal with internal righteousness, and must change the heart. Therefore, read with me what Jesus taught beginning in verse 21. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, you shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. And whoever says, “You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly I say to you, you will by no means get out of there until you have paid the last penny.”
In the remaining verses of this fifth chapter, we will look at the issues of murder, adultery, lying, retaliation, and love. Why does Jesus pick these particular commands to explain? I believe that there are two obvious reasons. First, all of these commands deal with real-life. This is where we live every day. These are the issues we struggle with throughout our lives. Jesus wanted each of us to experience internal righteousness and change in these practical areas of life. The second reason He chose these particular commands is that no one can look at these individual commands and come away thinking, I fulfilled that command. I’m a very righteous person. I'm okay. The exact opposite should be the result. You should come away from these commands seeing your intense need for God’s power and grace, because all of us fail so miserably in each of these areas. Jesus is trying to get people to understand that each of these commands require an internal attitude and obedience that we do not have. Realizing this fact is what leads each of us to seek Him for change from within, and thus, God works that internal righteousness that exceeds the righteousness of the Pharisees.
However, you will always meet people who think they are good and have no need. When I share the Gospel with non-believers who think that they are a good person, and that God would be lucky to have them in heaven, I will usually take these first two commands that Jesus referred to in this sermon and apply them to their lives. The commands I am referring to are, you should not commit murder or commit adultery. Why? I do this because everyone has broken these commands. I ask a person, “Do you think you are good person?” They usually respond, “Sure, of course I am a good person. I haven’t done that many bad things.” Then I ask them, “Have you ever angered in your heart against your brother?” He or she will respond, “Yes I have.” I then explain, “Then you have broken God's commandment, you shall not murder, because the true intent of this command begins with anger in the heart. Then I ask the person, depending who I am speaking with, “Have you ever lusted in your heart after a man, or after a woman?” The person will again answer yes. I then explain that he or she has broken God’s command to not commit adultery, because lust in the heart is what this command was seeking to deal with. Before adultery ever occurs, a person has been allowing lustful thoughts to control their heart. Therefore, everybody has broken these commands. That is the point. Jesus is after the heart of man, not just his external actions. Jesus wanted more than the external religion of the Pharisees.
Now, let us look at the text here in Matthew. Jesus has reminded the Disciples of God’s command to not murder. What was God’s true intent for this specific command? I think that Jesus makes quite clear, that He is after the anger in your heart toward your brother. By dealing the correct way with your anger you will be motivated to correct behavior. In verse 22:25, Jesus said “Whoever is angry with his brother…shall be in danger of the judgment…Whoever says, ‘You fool!’ Shall be in danger of hell fire…leave your gift before the altar and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother.” Jesus wants to control your anger and encourage you to reconciliation. You see, nobody ever wakes up in morning and begins to think for no reason, I think I am going to kill that person. On the contrary, a person first gets angry with another, and that anger is allowed to boil inside the heart and to build into resentment. This anger then motivates a person to take the actions that bring about a murder. Therefore, learning to deal with the ange,r you have inside your heart, and learning how to reconcile conflicts with others is essential. This is what Jesus wants to do in each of us. He is after these heart issues.
Now, an important point that many people miss in these verses, is that Jesus does not use the word kill, but the word murder. Is there a difference between these two words? Yes! I hear people misquote this command quite often when they say, “Doesn’t God say, you shall not kill.” No, that is not what God commanded. The actual word used in Hebrew in the Old Testament is to murder. Jesus chose the same Greek word for murder. These are both very specific words. Both of these words only refer to premeditated murder. There are many words used for kill or to be killed in both Hebrew and Greek. In Matthew 22:4, Jesus used one Greek word for killing an animal for a dinner feast. Killing an animal for food is a different Greek word than this word for murder. I like this particular passage because it sounds like Jesus enjoyed barbecues. Also, in Luke 13:4, Jesus used another Greek word for the accidental killing of people when a tower fell on them. This is also a different word than the word for murder. In Luke 23:32, Scripture uses sill another Greek word for the judicial act of capital punishment when criminals are killed. Therefore, I am explaining this fact for a very important reason. If you misunderstand the meaning of the word to kill, then you will have a wrong concept of killing from a biblical stand-point. Killing is reasonable and justifiable at times. So, do not misunderstand the command and the intent behind the word for murder. Murder is completely different from any of the other examples I have just given. In our text today, Jesus is talking about the anger in our hearts that will cause an act of premeditated murder. Anger is the source of all murder.
Now, let’s talk about anger for a moment. How do you view anger? Many times Christians justify their anger and consider it a minor thing. People say to me, “I just got a little angry. I just had to tell them what I really thought about them. It’s no big deal.” No! It is a big deal. Explosive anger was a big enough deal that Jesus brought it up here in the Sermon on the Mount. If your anger dominates you, it can ruin your relationships with friends. It can ruin your marital relationship with your spouse. It can ruin your parenting relationships with your children. Your anger is a big deal. Jesus said at the end of verse 22, “Whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire.” Does that sound like anger is a big deal? What did Jesus mean by that statement? It is very simple. Holding hatred and resentment in your heart can send you to hell. Uncontrolled anger in your heart can destroy you and others. In First John chapter 3:15, John said, “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” Note that John is teaching the same thing that Jesus does here in the Sermon on the Mount. It is also important to note that the word hate that John used is in the present tense. The present tense of the verb describes a continuous practice of hatred and the holding of resentment in your heart towards another. Therefore, understand that holding hatred and resentment inside your heart is a very big deal. Do not minimize it.
Therefore, if you don’t want to commit a crime of passion someday, or be held by resentment, you need to deal with your anger. No one ever thinks that they would do something like murder or manslaughter, but it all begin with angry thoughts and resentment. The resentment continues until someone in the heat of the moment takes an action that they will regret. Usually heated passionate words are spoken. Jesus said in verse 22, “Whoever says to his brother 'Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council.” The word raca literally means you empty-headed fool. Today you would call someone an idiot'. In Christ’s day, these were harsh words. So, if you are using harsh words with people, this is proof that your anger is out of control and that it is escalating. If you don’t deal with anger in your heart, it will always escalate. The escalation many times will turn to a physical altercation. I hear about these kinds of situations all of the time. People tell me, “somebody pushed me and then all of a sudden the fists were flying. Or, they slammed the door in my face, and then the door gets kicked in.” That is how it starts, then someone get their gun, or knife, or whatever is handy. But, it all begins with uncontrolled anger. So, please deal with your anger quickly before it gets out of control.
Now, another issue in this text that I think is very important to understand, is that Jesus here reveals that there are two kinds of anger. Notice in verse 22 Jesus said, “Whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” There is anger that is motivated from a just cause, and anger that has no just cause. Therefore, the natural question should be, is anger always wrong? There is a difference between sinful anger and the anger that is motivated from a just cause? These are two basic differences that you have to understand to know if your anger is motivated correctly. Sinful anger is always motivated by selfish desires. A just cause for anger or righteous anger will always be motivated by righteousness or justice. In Ephesians chapter 4:26, notice that Paul said, “Be angry, and do not sin, and do not let the sun go down on your wrath.” Now, if Paul commands us to be angry and not sin, then there is a way to be angry and not sin. It’s that simple. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is commanding me to be angry, but not sin. That means that there is anger that I can possess that will not lead me to sin. Therefore, it is all about how you react when you are angry. Let me give you two great examples. Jesus is the best example of this kind of anger. Scripture tells us that He was angry at the evil and unrighteousness of the Pharisees. In Mark chapter 3:5, he tells us that, “When He looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man stretch out your hand.” Jesus was clearly angry. This also proves that all anger is not wrong. But, what was the motivation for Christ’s anger? Mark tells us that He was grieved for a crippled man. In other words, there was a sorrow in His heart. Why? Jesus loved this man and the Pharisees could care less about him. All the Pharisees were concerned about was their traditions. Therefore, Jesus was angry and He did not sin. His anger motivated Him to take a godly action. He verbally reproved them, and then He healed the man.
Another great example of godly anger is found in the life of King Saul. In First Samuel we read the story of the Ammonites who came to the town of Jabesh Gilead and sought to conquer the Israelites. The Ammonites gave the Jews the choice, surrender or die. However, if they surrendered there was a condition. The Ammonites would poke out the right eye of each of the men in this city. Putting out the men’s right eyes would make the men of the city unable to ever effectively fight against the Ammonites in the future. However, in First Samuel 11:6 after Saul had heard about what the Ammonites wanted to do, the Bible say, “Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard this news, and his anger was greatly aroused.” Now, have you ever heard anyone tell you that the fruit of the Spirit dwelling in you would be anger? What was the motivation behind Saul’s anger? His anger was motivated by the protection and deliverance of the Jews. He saw the injustice and the unrighteousness of what the Ammonites were about to do, and he was not going to sit still. Do you now see the difference between sinful anger and righteous anger? It is simply an issue of motivation. Therefore, always examine your motivation when you get angry.
Your next consideration when you get angry should be to look at what actions. Many times the actions that you take will reveal the motivation behind your anger. Therefore, how will you respond when you get angry? Sinful anger will motivate you to attack and destroy another person. Sinful anger motivates sinful actions. Righteous anger will motivate you to righteous actions that will promote reconciliation with a person. Let me give you a couple of examples. In Numbers chapter 16:15 it declares, “Moses was very angry.” Why? As you read the context, you find that this is when Korah came against Moses with some the other leaders of Israel. They came charging Moses with exalting himself and taking upon himself too much authority. How does Moses respond? It says in Numbers 16:4, “When Moses heard it, he fell on his face” and prayed. His anger motivated him to take the action of prayer. His next action was to reprove these men, and to tell them they were fighting against God’s directives for the congregation of Israel. It was God who set up Moses and Korah in their respective positions. To fight against Moses and his position was to fight against God. Now, have you ever considered that anger should motivate you to pray? Anger should also motivate you to speak the truth and reprove whatever and whoever is doing evil.
Another example is found in Nehemiah chapter 5:6-7. In this chapter is the account of the Jews coming to Nehemiah after they had returned from captivity in Babylon with a great problem. The Jews were charging their brethren high interest rates. There was a famine in the land of Israel and the people had nothing to eat. Some of the Jews took advantage of this situation to enrich themselves. When Nehemiah heard of this situation he declared, “I became very angry…after serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers.” Note that Nehemiah had no selfish motivation in his anger, and he takes the correct righteous action. His anger motivated him to sit down and think seriously about what he was going to do. He did not speak quickly or rashly with his lips. He stopped and thought about what God would have him do, and then took the appropriate action. Therefore, there are two different motivations for anger, and two completely different ways that you can react and respond with people. Is this how you respond when you get angry?
In addition, how can you keep your anger under control? Let me give you several simple steps that will enable you to keep your anger under control and keep you out of trouble. If you struggle with anger problems in your life, here is what you need to do. These steps will help you to gain control over your anger.
First what you need to do is to determine why you are angry. In Genesis chapter 4:6 it is recorded that, “The Lord said to Cain, 'Why are you angry and why has your countenance fallen?'” Now, if the Lord asked Cain why he was angry, there must be a good reason for this question. There is! God wanted Cain to give some serious thought to why he had become angry. Why is that so important? If you stop to think through why you are angry you will be examining your motivation for the anger. If you have the right or wrong motivation, that will determine what you should do. Either deal with your own selfish motivations or take a godly action. If Cain would have simply taken this counsel from the Lord, he would not have turned and killed his brother. Why do I say that? If Cain would have taken some time to examine his own heart he would have immediately realized that his anger was based in jealousy. Jealousy toward your brother is a self-centered and sinful motivation. Therefore, when you see that you have the wrong motivation, you need to do one thing; repent. Repentance will quench selfish anger instantly. So, if you do not determine why you are angry, then you will turn it around in your head and try and make it the other person’s problem. Your anger will cause you to do things that you will regret. That's why you must begin by determining why you are angry. That is a critical first step.
Second, when you sense anger within you need to deal with this anger quickly. Notice here in Matthew 5:25 that Jesus said, “Agree with your adversary quickly.” Speed is essential when it comes to dealing with your anger and an adversary. Note that Paul also said in Ephesians chapter 4:26, “Be angry and do not sin. Do not let the Sun go down on your wrath.” Both of these passages are encouraging speed when it comes to resolving anger and conflicts with others. In other words, deal with your anger before you go to sleep tonight! Before the sun goes down today, deal with your resentments. Do it quickly. If you do not resolve anger within you, you will end up harboring resentment in your heart. When you hold resentment in your heart, it will cause you to do and say things that you are going to regret. Remember, letting anger and resentment boil inside is a choice. You have chosen many times in your mind, “I am not going to let this issue go.” You choose to nurse the bitterness and you refuse to talk to the person. Some people are escape artists when it comes to dealing with conflict. Most of the time you simply refuse to resolve it. You find every reason and rationale for why you cannot deal with a conflict. However, it is not that you cannot, it is because you will not choose to deal with the problem. In reality, you are disobeying a direct command of God, and you will pay for this disobedience with the loss of your peace and fellowship with God. Your relationships will also pay dearly because of the bitterness you harbor within. Paul taught in Romans chapter 6:12, “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” That means, do not let sinful anger reign in your heart, because it will destroy you. Do not let that happen.
Third, if you want to control your anger you need to deal with resentments when they are small issues. What keeps you from exploding in an angry rage toward someone? You won’t explode if you deal with the conflict quickly when the issue is a small thing. However, if you wait and allow anger and resentment to build up inside you, then be prepared for that volcanic explosion to occur. That is why you have those eruptions of rage and you spew out three or four weeks of resentment all at one moment. It is simply because you have not dealt with the issue when it was small. This principle is best illustrated when Moses erupted in anger in Psalm 106:32-33. There it says, “They angered him also at the waters of strife. So that it went ill with Moses on account of them. Because they rebelled against His Spirit.” Now the word “they” is referring to the children of Israel. So, the Lord first puts responsibility on the people for causing Moses to get angry. However, God also held Moses responsible for what he did. It says, “So that he spoke rashly with his lips.” The word rashly literally means harshly. Now this word rashly is also in the imperfect tense in the Hebrew, which means that he continuously spoke rashly with his lips. In other words, Moses let out all of the anger and frustration he was holding back from all of the previous conflicts and strife with the Children of Israel. Just read through Exodus and you will see that over and over again the people complained and charged Moses. The people had judged his motives for leadership and had murmured against God. It happened over and over again. But, this time Moses lets the people have a piece of his mind so to speak. He gives them both barrels and then he reloads and he gives them both barrels again, and he reloads and he gives them both barrels again. This is why it is in the imperfect tense in the original Hebrew. This was an angry rant that went on for quite a while. Then the Lord told Moses that he had not represented Him to the people, you have not sanctified Me in their eyes. Therefore, you shall not bring the people into the Promised Land. If you would like to read further on this story it is found in Numbers chapter 20. Therefore, if Moses had not held onto all these smaller conflicts in his heart, he would not have erupted in anger. If you hold on to resentment in your heart you also will not experience the promised land of victory in your own life. You will find yourself erupting in anger in a similar way. Doing so will cause you to forfeit your joy and the victory that you should have in Christ. Consequently, do not hold little resentments. Deal with them quickly when they are small issues.
Fourth, if you want to control your anger you need to control your thoughts. Your thoughts, if they are not controlled, have great power to stir you up to anger over and over again. This is especially true when you have an un-reconciled the conflict with a person. If you go back in your mind and start thinking about what that person said or did to you, what happens? As you do, can’t you feel the fire of anger begin to burn inside? This is why you can get angry even after six months or even years pass. As you allow yourself to think about the conflict it all gets stirred up again. This is why the Scripture declares in Philippians chapter 4:8-9, “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate or think on these things. The things which you have learned, and received, and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” Therefore, if you want peace then you must control what you think about. You must choose to think, "Now wait a minute. I am not going there in my head. I have reconciled that. I am not going back there.” Control your thinking. You need to control your thinking even when the conflict is un-reconciled, so that you can be controlled before you go to speak to that individual. Think biblically and rationally about what to say and you will not do things you will regret.
The fifth way you can control your anger is by stopping a contentious conversation before it begins. Now you may be thinking to yourself, But, how do I know if a contentious conversation is about to happen? It is very simple. The volume of your words starts to rise. You know where this conversation is headed. Why? Because you know where other conversations have ended up when emotions take control. So, you need to stop the conversation, before your anger gets control of you. This is exactly what Proverbs chapter 20:3 declares. Solomon says, “It is an honorable thing for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel.” It is an honorable thing to stop striving. So, when you hear that volume start to rise, or you start to sense your anger within start to get fired up, you have got to stop this right then. You say to the other person, “Wait a minute, let's back up here, let's take a moment and let's get control of ourselves”. If you don't do this then you are going to say things that you will regret and act in ways that you should not. In addition, be very careful that you do not ever touch the person when anger is escalating. Physical altercations start with a simple push or shove. Or, you slam the door in a person’s face and then they push the door open. As soon as you allow anger to begin controlling the situation it will be downhill from there. Why does this happen? It is because you have not stopped a conversation when you sensed your anger begins to rise.
Sixth, if you want to stop an angry and contentious conversation, you need to use soft or gentle words. The words that you choose in the midst of a conflict will either escalate it in anger or diffuse it. That is your choice. In Proverbs chapter 15:1, Solomon teaches, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” So, choose your words carefully. Your words will either light the fire of anger, or put the fire out. Therefore, if someone you are talking to begins to get angry when you are speaking with them, make sure that you use soft and gentle words. It is the difference between harshly calling someone a liar, or saying, “I don’t agree that this characterization of what took place is correct.” You are saying the same thing, but one is harsh and the other is more gentle and soft.
The seventh thing you must do if you want to control your anger is surrender to the Spirit. If there is one thing that quenches the fire of anger in your soul, it is the living water of the Spirit of God. Jesus said in John chapter 7:37-39, “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit...” You see, the Holy Spirit is that living water Jesus wants to give to each of us. Now, if you have experienced what I am about to tell you, there is no question in your mind that you know you can get control of your anger. So, have you ever experienced a moment when you begin to feel that fire of anger start to rise inside you and you just quietly in your mind cry out to God? You sense yourself losing your temper and you pray, “Lord will you fill me with your Holy Spirit.” At that instant you sense that calming effect of His Spirit overflowing your spirit. However, if you refuse to pray and you let your angry words fly, the opposite will occur. The conversation will turn ugly and you will regret what you do and say. Yet, if the Spirit’s living water fills you then you will sense Him quenching the fire of anger in such a real way that you will never have to question in your mind if the Holy Spirit is real. So, I challenge you, if you have never experienced the power of the Spirit to quench your angry heart, call on Him the next time you begin to get angry, and see what happens.
Eighth, if you want to control your anger and stop it before it overwhelms you, then you need to go and seek reconciliation before resentment takes hold of you. It is an essential step. Jesus said in Matthew chapter 18:15, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” So, if you are thinking right now about someone who has offended you, it is your responsibility is to go to them and seek reconciliation. Doing so is what keeps you from allowing your anger to build into resentment. This is what Jesus commands. Go to them. If you refuse to do this you are disobeying a direct command of God and your anger will get the best of you. Notice Jesus said here, “If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” The word “if” there, is because sometimes people will not hear you. They will not respond lovingly or correctly. They will not admit any fault or any problem. You can’t do anything about that, but you need to do what Christ commands. Whether they respond correctly or not, you are still commanded to go. Sometimes I have had to go to people several times. If someone tells you repeatedly to get lost, then you can’t do anything more. At that point you must wait for the Spirit to work. I had one guy come back after ten years and want to reconcile. Ten years of holding resentment towards me, and one day he walked in with tears in his eyes into my office, and said, “Will you forgive me.” I’m telling you this story because we reconciled the issue that day. It can happen.
The ninth thing you need to do to control your anger is, if you know that someone is angry with you, go to them and quickly seek to resolve the issue. This is exactly what Jesus said right here in Matthew chapter 5:23-24. Jesus said, “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there, before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled with your brother, then come and offer your gift.” Notice the words, “go your way.” That means do not sit there and do nothing. You need to go to your brother. Therefore, if you know that there is someone that is angry and bitter toward you and you have never gone to try and reconcile with them, you have disobeyed this command. At the end of this service you need to go and seek reconciliation. If you have done that already or done it several times and the other person has not received you, then you have done all you can. However, if you know that you have not really attempted to reconcile, then you need to go today. Jesus declared how important this is to Him when He said, “leave your gift at the altar.” In other words, Jesus is saying, “Don't come to Me until you have gone to them.” By taking this action of seeking reconciliation, you will be averting an angry exchange in the future with this person.
Tenth, you need to seek agreement where ever you can with an adversary. Here in Matthew chapter 5:25, Jesus commands, “Agree with your adversary quickly.” How do you find agreement with someone that is your adversary? To find agreement you must be ready and willing to admit your personal faults. When you have a conflict this is the first thing you should do. Ask yourself, What fault do I have in this argument? Did you respond incorrectly? Did you have a bad attitude? Did you say or do things that were hurtful or harsh? What fault did you have in this conflict? When you can admit your fault you will be able to find agreement. Many times as soon as you admit your fault the other person usually admits his or her fault. This enables quick reconciliation. If you refuse to charge the other person and simply admit your wrong doing agreement is easy to find.
The eleventh thing I want to stress is that if you refuse to take the steps I have just listed, your anger will escalate and the whole situation will get worse. How do I know that things will escalate? It is very simple, Jesus said they would. This is the point that Jesus made in Matthew chapter 5:25. He said, “Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.” Do you see the clear principle of escalation taught here by Jesus? If you agree with your adversary before you ever go to court with them, then you never end up in court with them. If you say, “Well, I don’t care about court, because I don’t want to reconcile with them. Then it will escalate into something worse. Jesus also declares that you may lose and you might end up going to jail? Then you will regret not reconciling. So, take care of the conflict quickly by seeking reconciliation. If you do not it is guaranteed that it will escalate to something worse. Jesus also said in Luke chapter 12:58 that you should, “make every effort” to reconcile with your brother. So, is this what you are doing? If not, then you are probably holding resentment and unforgiveness. Jesus also said, “If you have anything against anyone, forgive him.” This is all-inclusive. Anything against anyone that has hurt you. If you do not forgive, it will destroy you. Just this last week I was speaking to a person on the phone who lives in another state who has a tremendous anger problem. I asked him, “Why are you taking this certain action? His response was to bring up something that happened fifteen years ago. I asked, “Why did you bring that up?” He said, “because I’m angry.” There is the result of unforgiveness. It is bitterness and resentment from what happened long ago. Unless you forgive, you will deal with the affects today and next week and next year. Until you forgive, you will be in prison within. God wants you free, and forgiveness sets you free. Forgive! Let the past go and seek reconciliation wherever possible.
Let’s go to him in prayer. Father, we come to You, looking to You, and seeking You. We need the infilling of your Holy Spirit. Father, I pray for those today that struggle with anger, they battle with it every day. Lord, I pray you will control their anger and bring victory where there has been defeat. I pray that these principles I have shared today would transform behavior in a radical way. I believe that You have placed these truths in Your Word to help us, to change us, to give us the victory. So, Lord, fill us with Your Spirit today. Work Your work in us Lord. We believe You to do that.