It doesn’t take long when you’re in leadership to become aware of anger!
Whether in a business or a church setting, anger has a way of presenting itself. Sometimes it’s direct, and at times indirect.
Whether a leader, employee or volunteer, anger impacts us.
Differences of opinions can quickly turn into hotly debated arguments. Everyone seems to have a way of thinking what’s right and ideas on how things are to be processed.
Jesus recognizes that anger is one of many dynamics that require our immediate attention. And, as much as we may want to avoid conflict, the delay can be disastrous.
Most people would agree it’s wrong to murder another person maliciously. The Pharisaical leadership of Jesus’ days on earth thought so. One of the Ten Commandments says so: “You shall not murder” (Ex. 20:13).
The Pharisees agreed with this commandment, teaching that murder consisted of taking someone’s life. However, Jesus explains that this commandment extends beyond the physical act of murder and equally applies to the internal attitude behind the violent action.
He shows us how assuming a position of superiority over another, or speaking derogatorily of another is a reflection of unhealthy anger that burns in a sinful heart (Mt. 5:21-22).
Unhealthy anger left unattended feeds divisiveness, encourages distraction of focus, undermines unity, and blocks productivity.
The antidote for unhealthy anger is reconciliation. Jesus reminds us:
“So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift” (Mt. 5:23-24).
The very best gifts we offer are deficient when unchecked anger is allowed to continue. Jesus knows this. That’s why he admonishes us to handle anger quickly. Failure to do so can place us in prison (Mt. 5:25-26).
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he writes:
“Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil” (Eph. 4:26-27).
Everyone experiences anger. And, it’s ok to be angry. What’s not ok is to sin in our anger.
I’m inclined to be a peacemaker (or at least I try to convince myself of that noble desire). However, authentic peacemaking does not avoid attending to anger; whether personal or inter-personal.
It’s easy for me to convince myself that giving more time before I address an anger issue will somehow magically cause it to disappear. It doesn’t.
Apparently, Jesus knows it is wiser for me to pursue reconciliation as quickly as possible so I won’t sin.