October 13, 2013

What to Do With Anger

Matthew 5:21-26

“If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you … first go and be reconciled to them.”
—Matthew 5:23-24


Your colleague belittles you in front of your coworkers, and you silently plot how to get even. A driver rudely cuts you off on the freeway, and you hit the accelerator to show them what you think of their driving. Your parents made mistakes that have hurt you, and you’ve spent your adult life being angry over how they treated you.

Anger can be incredibly corrosive when we let it simmer in our hearts. It can eat away at marriages and friendships. It can ruin a career in one foolish outburst. Jesus warns us that if it is left unchecked, anger can escalate into name-calling, hostility, and even murder. We may think we are obeying God’s law against murder if we don’t kill. But Jesus warns that the root of murder lies in our heart if we let anger fester.

How do we deal with anger? Jesus calls us to be active in seeking reconciliation with our neighbors. Even if they are the ones who have wronged us, we are called to take it upon ourselves to make things right again. After all, that is how Jesus makes peace with his enemies—us! While we were yet sinners, Jesus died to reconcile us to his Father (Romans 5:8).

Grasping the enemy-love of God will melt the anger in our hearts. With whom do you need to make peace today?

Lord, in our pride we often hate those who have wronged us. You showed supreme love and humility by dying for us even when we were your enemies. Help us to be willing to do the same. Amen.

About the author — Rob Toornstra

Rob Toornstra has served as pastor of Sunnyslope Christian Reformed Church in Salem, Oregon, since 2006. When not busy with pastoral duties, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Amy, and their three children.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!