• Rusty Coram

2021_01_20 Insight Post- Rusty Coram

This week's reading- Matthew 4 & 5

Jesus didn’t hold back in His teaching to win popularity. In fact, what He taught often made people – especially those who considered themselves “righteous” – irritated and resentful. I’m pretty sure He would get the same reaction among many churchgoers today. For example, in Matthew 5:21-22, “21 You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ 22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.” (NLT)

Here Jesus elevates our personal responsibility, beyond merely outward acts, going directly to the “heart of the matter”. There is a progression here from thoughts, to name calling, to character assassination. The main point is that long before it’s acted on, anger resides in our heart, and it is there that we either eradicate it, or nurture and feed it. The law says that premeditated murder is subject to civil judgement, but Jesus says that the angry thoughts that preceded the murder, are subject to God’s judgement. That is why the next verses, teach us to deal with our attitude of anger immediately so that it won’t take root.

It has become too common in America for anger against others to be not only tolerated but celebrated – even among those who claim to be Christian. We should never excuse what Jesus said is inexcusable. He has given us His Holy Spirit so we can live the new life He has called us to. Here are a few verses that remind us of our calling:

“Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”

James 1:20 (NLT)

“26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.”

Ephesians 4:26-27 (NLT)

“31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT)

Rusty Coram

Senior Pastor