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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

Guard Your Anger

Updated: 5 days ago

“A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression” (Proverbs 29:22 ESV). 

Have you noticed? There are a lot of angry people today. 

Public protests regarding any issue increasingly move from dialogue to insults and, often, from name-calling to violence. Angry people are quickly offended and reactionary. 

I’m not accusing others. I’m reminding myself how essential it is to guard myself from anger. The effects of a volatile temperament can cause incredible damage. An angry, hot-tempered reaction in the moment can create severe harm, destroy relationships, and maim individuals. 

If winning your point of view justifies destructive behavior, insults, and name-calling, you may want to consider Jesus’ comments regarding anger: 

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire” (Matthew 5:21-22).

Louis Barbieri Jr. reminds us that the Pharisees taught that murder consisted of taking someone’s life. Jesus reminded them that this commandment extends not only to the act itself but also to the internal attitude behind the act.⁠1 The anger prompting the act is as wrong as plunging the knife or pulling the trigger. 

Even “name-calling” demonstrates sinfulness of the heart. Whoever says “You fool!” reveals a position of superiority over another. Jesus takes it seriously. He reminds us that an angry person will be liable to judgment, that insulting others makes us liable to the council, and name calling makes us liable to “the hell of fire.” That’s really serious! 

It’s difficult NOT to be angry these days. Injustice, insults, and various despairing issues trigger our emotions. We won’t get through this week without experiencing anger. However, we can guard our anger by responding rather than reacting. 

“…Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20 ESV).  

1 Louis A. Barbieri Jr., “Matthew,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 30.


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