Am I still angry with anyone, which is the same as murder in God’s eyes and brings judgment?
21 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But 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 has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; 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 with him on the way, or he 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) I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
INSIGHT: Righteous anger is when we are mad about God’s will being violated. Unrighteous anger (the sinful kind) is when we are mad about our will being violated. When we stay angry, it is because we desire justice and we don’t trust God to bring it. My greatest enemy was more hurtful and more vicious than I ever imagined possible, for six straight years. In the beginning it made me very angry because it was so unjust. However, God asked me (and you) to forgive others and to trust Him. As I obeyed, He began helping me, and soon I was controlling my anger, rather than it controlling me. The key for me was to go to God with every new offense like a “tattletale”, until I no longer needed to do that. By the way, there’s no such thing as a tattletale to God; He wants you to bring the details of every hurt and offense to Him (See the Psalms). You can spit the poison out on Him since He’s immune, and that gets it out of you. My trust in Him eventually extinguished my anger for my enemy so much, that I often plead with God, in tears, to bless them. You do not have to be angry as a Christian. I can’t even remember the last time
An angry Christian is a disobedient Christian, and is not surrendered to the Power of the Holy Spirit. Satan uses the anger that we hold onto to ensnare and destroy us. (Eph 4:26-27) It can easily become a stronghold, and such a person reading this will feel the “impossibility” of being able to forgive or release the anger they feel towards someone. They have given Satan a foothold and he turned it into a stronghold. As you can see from Jesus’ teachings, this ensures that the person will end up in hell, if they are in that state when they die, which could be at any time. This is why Jesus calls Satan the thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). A stronghold is a desperate and dangerous situation that must be dealt with NOW! If you are stuck in a stronghold of anger or unforgiveness, ask yourself this sobering question. “Am I willing to be thrown into the eternal fire of hell (Jesus’ words) just so I can remain angry with that person?” The warning has been made and it is up to you to decide. If you want out of the stronghold, put this book down and get on your knees and cry out to Him and show Him you sincerely want His help. Confess your sin against Him, and ask Him to teach you the Fear of the Lord (Psalm 86:11) and to give you the grace to never pick the anger back up again. He stands with open arms, ready to reconcile anyone who repents.
Note: In v. 23-26, the command is to attempt reconciliation, when you have legitimately wronged them. I have made a few enemies by telling them the truth about the sin in their life, when they asked me (Gal 4:16). I acted in love, but love is not subjective to the receiver. People are far too easily offended today. I attempted reconciliation, but it was not reciprocated. Since my motivation was to see them be better off, without the sin in their life, their remaining offended is not something God holds against me. In fact, God would hold me accountable if I did not say anything (Eze 3:18).