I have read that one out of every thirty-five deaths in Chicago is a murder, and that most of these murders are “crimes of passion” caused by anger among friends or relatives. Jesus did not say that anger leads to murder, He said that anger is murder.
There is a holy anger against sin, but Jesus talked about an unholy anger against people (Matthew 5:21-26). Anger is such a foolish thing. It makes us destroyers instead of builders. It robs us of freedom and makes us prisoners. To hate someone is to commit murder in our hearts.
This does not mean that we should go ahead and murder someone we hate, since we have already sinned inwardly. Obviously, sinful feelings are not excuses for sinful deeds. Sinful anger robs us of fellowship with God as well as with our brothers, but it does not put us into jail as murderers. But more than one person has become a murderer because he failed to control sinful anger.
Sinful anger must be faced honestly and must be confessed to God as sin. We must go to our brother and get the matter settled, and we must do it quickly. The longer we wait, the worse the bondage becomes! We put ourselves into a terrible prison when we refuse to be reconciled. It has well been said that the person who refuses to forgive his brother destroys the very bridge over which he himself must walk.
The Bible says: “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil” (Psalm 37:8, NIV).
Also read: Matthew 5:21-26; James 1:19-20; Ephesians 4:26, 31.
Action assignment: Are you harboring sinful anger against someone? Prayerfully consider the counsel in Matthew 18:15-20 and settle the matter.
WARREN W. WIERSBE