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This is Living Part 9: It Really Matters!

In Matthew 5:21-26, Jesus warns against the dangers of uncontrolled anger and contempt. He teaches that unresolved anger can lead to destructive consequences and emphasizes the importance of reconciliation and forgiveness to avoid unnecessary conflict and pain. Here are some ways to over come the destructive behaviour of anger and live The Better Way.

Message Notes 07/07/2024

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 “21 You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny." - Matthew 5:21-26

The Better Way

1. Surrender will

You don’t always have to have your way! We said anger is a will phenomenon and it starts when our will is crossed. One of the biggest things you can do to step out of anger is to accept that you don’t always have to have your way – even if it is justified. Not about getting rid of your will, but rather, choosing to surrender your will to the will of God.

With this in place – not getting what you want is no longer a big deal. Anger comes when you make things a big deal. Surrendered to the will of God helps us not only with our anger but effects pervasive change in all areas of our lives. 

But what about things that are wrong?  We can still act! It doesn’t mean that we become walk overs or door mats.  Jesus doesn’t let everything go without addressing it. Instead, we speak truth and live it - but not in anger or contempt. You are a calm person now and can engage with others accordingly and your behaviour reflects that. The reason is that we know God is taking care of us and our real interests are safe. 

For the big and small things that make us angry, the meaning of the cross is that there is life beyond and outside of this event. No matter what the event is – there is life outside of it! 

Surrender your will to the will of God and not needing to get your own way is the starting point of reducing the impact of anger in our lives.

2.        Surrender Contempt

Let us not show contempt, or look down on / criticise / judge others, that which God has made in his own image. For by doing so we are criticising and showing contempt towards the same God who made us and will hold us accountable for the hatred in our hearts. 

This morning God is calling us to give up the right to have contempt of people!  You don’t have that right! A great moment for spiritual growth is the moment that we give up the right to be angry and say – “I am not going to exercise my anger, I am going to abandon contempt. I’m better off without it.” 

A decision we can make – to see others as made by God in his image and then to decide to live without contempt and to rather live with love! The answer to contempt is love. You cannot have contempt for something you love. Lord, please deal with my pride and arrogance. Humble me father! Give up my right to contempt!

3.        Jesus two simple pointers from v23-25

When we surrender will and contempt we can follow Jesus advice here:

A.       Go and make right

Go and make things right – that’s how much it matters! Your relationship with God is tied up in your relationship with others. If you sit here today and your relationship with God feels distant – it could be due to a number of potential factors. I want to ask you, Is there someone in your life that you’re not at peace with? If there is, there is no way around that – you need to go and deal with it.

B.       Don’t delay

Do it now before that intensity grows and the depth of that anger grows. Hold short accounts. Cycle of anger – less likely that you will act out in a way that you regret and 2 – it shows what living in the Kingdom looks like.

4.        Spiritual disciplines

The answer to not being angry is not to try and be not angry. Change starts on the inside, and we then see the impact on the outside. When trying to modify behaviour, we have learnt that you don’t aim at the behaviour, you aim at changing the inside and when you do that, the behaviour changes.

Practices of silence and solitude, time alone with Jesus, worship, admiration and reverence of God will transform us on the inside. A decision you can make to find yourself in those places. I promise you that you will then find you are no longer driven by feelings and needs but are driven by the sufficiency of God. Resources:

How is anger the same as murder?

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