Murders aren’t just people who’ve killed someone else, they’re also the folks who allow a seething river of anger to run inside them. In just a few short sentences, Jesus leveled the playing field. Every one of us, Jesus teaches, has a heart capable of murder. In other words, to take the scriptures seriously is to wrestle with the darkness in our own hearts.
What pain is to the body, anger is to the person. It’s an indicator. When anger erupts in us, it clues us in to the fact that something is not right. To let anger fester, to speak words that have been soaking in fury is murderous. The counter intuitive rule of God leads people to acknowledge and wrestle with anger: to ask where it comes from and what has to happen for it to be healed.
And the Good News, as we’ve seen in the Sermon on the Mount – God’s loves meets everyone where they are – not where they are not.
Jesus is not trying to get us into heaven – but trying to get heaven into us.
Our anger often is viewed as a single emotion. However, anger appears in many forms from annoyed to enraged. It’s also a secondary reaction to something else that is going on within us, our story, our past, our experiences.
We respond to our anger in two ways. We either pretend it is not there, letting it fester and boil within until in comes out in some way. Or we feed it by talking about it with others, creating new arguments with the voices in our head until it explodes. Either way it comes out. If our anger were a liquid – we would be filling sandbags around the perimeter of our homes.
But our anger doesn’t come out of no where. It is born from from our FEARS and UNMET EXPECTATIONS.
The voices of the “realities” of our life provide the lens in which we have trained ourselves to respond. Dallas Willard identifies the following false voices or narratives that bolster our anger:
- I am alone – no one else is going through what I am going through
- Things have to go the way I want
- Something terrible will happen if I fail or make a mistake
- Life must be fair and just
- I need to anticipate everything that will happen to me today
- I need to be perfect all the time
- I don’t care what people think
Consider what things are fueling your anger. They may be an ongoing frustration (ie. work, family, etc.), or what episodes through the day cause anger to well up inside of you in a moment (ie. long check-out lines, slow traffic, etc.).
Identify, where does your anger come from?
Try to connect your anger to your fears or unmet expectations?
What has been revealed to you today?
What’s the next step for you to address your anger and to allow Christ to show you another way of loving?
How does focusing on the 2 core truths about the kingdom help you to reconsider how you deal with your anger? (1. I am a spiritual being in whom God dwells and delights. 2. I live in a strong and unshakable kingdom.)
May the Holy Spirit be your guide as you look to understand your emotions, where they sit, and how they are prompted. And as you discover their source may you lean into the kingdom, trusting that God’s ways are best for experiencing life and loving others.
May God be with you on this journey as you learn to recognize and embrace the source of your anger and emotions