Angry Without Cause

“Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:” Matthew 5:22

We ought to learn to read the commandments with the light of our Lord’s explanation upon them. So long as the sixth commandment is interpreted to mean only actual murder, most people get along pretty well with it; they are not troubled in their consciences about its violation. There are not many literal murderers loose in our Sabbath schools and churches, or living in our homes. But when we hear our Lord’s interpretation of this commandment, and learn that this literal sense does not exhaust the meaning of the commandment — that we break it, too, when we are angry with a brother, — we cannot be quite so sure about our innocence. We have never killed any one, but have we never been angry with another? Elsewhere we read, “He that hateth his brother is a murderer.” This does not mean that hatred is as great a crime as murder, but that it grows from the same root and is of the same nature. Murder is only anger full-grown.

The Master’s words here should be carefully considered. They condemn all anger against another, all expressions of scorn or contempt. The obedience of this commandment which our Lord requires is, love that thinketh no evil, that cherisheth no resentment, that is patient, gentle, thoughtful, reverent, unselfish. Yet are we not all too apt to allow the passion of anger to take possession of out breasts? Do we not too frequently permit envyings and jealousies and unkind and uncharitable thoughts to enter our hearts and nest there, like evil birds? If we but remembered that the spirit of murder is in all these emotions, we surely would not cherish them for an instant; none of us want the brand of murderer upon us. The way to keep out such feelings is to yield to every gentle and loving impulse of the Spirit — to “overcome evil with good.”

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