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Is Anger Really the Same as Murder?

anger_t_nvWe just studied Matthew 5:21-26 together on Sunday. What a passage. What a hard passage! When Jesus said our righteousness must exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees he wasn’t kidding! It is a hard passage, because it humbles us in seeing that what Jesus is really building in us by His Spirit are a people who don’t just refrain from external acts, but who are literally changing from the inside out. I want to be the kind of follower of Jesus who does not grow indifferent to a passage like this, because it really is a demonstration of the Gospel’s power in us. Relationships are plain hard work. As fellow Christians we are all redeemed works in progress. We are fully forgiven and righteous, yet we change by degrees (1 Corinthians 3:18).

I provided a personal list of implications (not regulations ☺) for how I see Matthew 5:21-26 making a difference in my life. Perhaps some of them will help you too. I don’t have these down perfectly; far from it! But I know that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. If that is true for me, than its true for you too! Grace is changing us!

1. A little criticism won’t kill you, really!
2. Why not rather be wronged, than having to be right?
3. You may not have tomorrow, or they may not!
4. Humility is not only godly; it shortens conflict!
    • The longer we try to justify ourselves, explain away the situation means more and more words, and
       where there are more and more words, sin is not absent! “You are right; I am sorry. Will you forgive
       me?”
5. Surrender your rights. Or at least find an Abigail (1 Samuel 25) to help you gain a long-term perspective
    before you do something foolish!
6. Sometimes critics speak the truth, so listen!
7. Pride really doesn’t look good on you!
8. Why have more adversaries than you really need? Meekness keeps the number in check!
9. Relationships matter more than sports, so it’s ok to “lose” now and again.
10. Be glad for an opportunity to reconcile; you might see the Gospel at work!

“We do grow angry; we are reluctant to heal broken relationships. In short, Jesus’ word exceeds our capacity. But there is good news. The same Jesus who issues these commands also blesses the poor in spirit – those who know they cannot obey. The same Jesus who issues these commands gave his life as a ransom for disciples who cannot obey them. Jesus also gives empowering grace; he sends his Spirit to give us the capacity to begin, at least, to obey him. Yes, our obedience is always imperfect, but we can make progress.” by Daniel Doriani, The Sermon on the Mount, pg. 57

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