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Foundations For Our Future #38

Foundations for Our Future (38)

by: The Rev. Dr. Jon Shuler

What makes you angry? How do you control it? Do you?

I served under a wonderful rector years ago who struggled mightily with anger issues. One day as he and I prayed together he asked me to lay hands upon him and ask God to deliver him from his anger. Ten minutes later we were driving to the hospital and another driver cut him off. His speech in the next few seconds did not glorify God.

All of us deal with anger, and the Holy Scriptures do not describe it as a sinful emotion in itself. There is a distinction made in the Bible, however, between righteous and unrighteous anger. Here the Lord is focusing us on the most basic community of our lives, that which we live with our brothers. (Matthew 5:21-22) He means, of course, those who share with us in the household of God. Those who are called to enter the kingdom of heaven. And he tells us that unresolved conflict there is unacceptable in God’s sight.

Nobody really wants to hear this. Most local congregations are rife with old disputes, distant wounds, unforgiven slights, and even hidden fury. People dare to come to the altar of God on Sunday who have deep grievances against one another, and Christ Jesus says it is a deal breaker. Thinking we are not murders, when we are furious at a brother or sister, is believing a lie. The sin is the same. It can keep us out of heaven.