It’s Your Fault I’m Angry
Matthew 5:21,22 You have heard that it was said…You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment…
Do you ever scream at people in your head? People, in fact, can be infuriating idiots. I am included in this of course, but I am not often honest enough to offend myself. At times, I find myself screaming at others in my head: Shut-up, shut-up! You are just droning on and on about nonsense. If you would only be quiet so I could talk… I have often wondered what it would be like to have a sign above me expressing all the thoughts in my mind. That would be horrifying.
When I feel I am overworked, overtired or maybe just have not had a donut for a while, I get irritable. When I get irritable, I feel that I have license to lash out in anger, even if it is only in my head. Some will insist that as long as I do not let it out that I am not really doing anything wrong. Jesus dispelled this innocence of the mind by equating my angry thoughts with murder.
In equating anger with murder, Jesus insisted that my thought life matters. It matters as anger often spills out of my thoughts into actions or words. When I act in anger, I let loose with hurtful words and thoughts that I never would otherwise. In my anger, I lose control of my tongue and I say things that I cannot take back. I may not be a murderer literally, but Jesus insisted that my anger kills nonetheless.
Again, even if I never let it out though, my anger is still toxic. Anger is a cancer of my mind that metastasizes into every area of my thought-life, poisoning me. I am convinced that much of my angst is caused by my lack of control of my thought life. If I indulge in my desire to rage against the stupidity of others, I am elevating and focusing on self. I am right. I am offended. I am justified. It is difficult to focus on God when I am in this mindset. When anger has invaded my thought-life, I cannot be loving, kind and merciful.
In my anger, I focus on self and therefore, cannot focus on God. In my anger, I give others the ability to control my mind. This never turns me to God, but rather towards self.
So what do I do when I find myself addicted to my need to be angry? What do I do when I cannot stop giving control away to others even when I see the destruction it causes? First, I need to be honest and see that my anger can be as destructive as any other addiction. Then, I begin the hard work and discipline of taking every thought captive and giving it to God.
This will never be a once-for-all decision. It is part of my flesh nature to be angry and thus, it will be a temptation as long as I am in this body. Just like every other defect of my flesh, God’s plan is for me to turn from self and follow him all the days of my life.