Righteousness & Anger
Last week's ManUp focused on the righteousness that we, as followers of Christ, are supposed to have. It is the kind of righteousness that surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law (Matt. 5:20) and Matthew 5:21-48 provides concrete examples of the greater righteousness that we are supposed to have. For the next six weeks, we will be looking at examples of the greater righteousness that we, as followers of Christ, and we, as men, are supposed to have.
The focus for this week’s ManUp is on our righteous behavior and anger. The law says you shall not murder. You see, the Pharisees thought they were righteous because they did not actually kill anyone. Jesus says, “but I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment” (Matt. 5:22). Jesus brings the law to the heart level and calls anger a sin. And, by saying this, Jesus is letting us know the standard of righteousness we need to have to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It is an internal righteousness that touches the motive, condition, and intention of the heart. Just because we may not act upon an angry or wicked thought doesn’t mean we can stomach them, because even anger or angry speech can lead to judgment.
Now, some of you may have the same question I have regarding anger, “Is there a righteous anger?” The old King James Version includes the words “without a cause” in Matthew 5:22. Furthermore, the Apostle Paul writes, “In your anger do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26). Additionally, Jesus displayed righteous anger when he cleared the Temple (John 2:15). By these examples we can see there is a righteous anger. However, it must be expressed productively, with humility and love, and never in a way that is harmful to others.
This Week’s Challenge: Anger has the ability to cause conflict between ourselves and others. When it comes to making things right with others who comes to mind? What steps can you take this week to reconcile with that person?