Monthly faith reflections from the pastor.
Weekly Faith Question
“But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment,” Jesus taught the disciples.
This is the third consecutive week of reading the Sermon on the Mount in worship. This week, Jesus seems to expect the impossible.
If you told me you never get angry ever, I would be suspicious. Anger is a natural human emotion. It’s a sign someone or something you care about has been threatened or violated. I’d worry you were suppressing anger--a sign of a wound, even a traumatic wound. Or I’d suspect you were polishing your record for the pastor. Feeling anger is not the problem; it’s what you do with it.
On the other hand, I’ve journeyed a long time with anger, my own and others’ anger. Many things cannot be unsaid or undone, even when they are forgiven. Anger has consequences.
I’ve learned that the feelings and reactions that seem automatic and inevitable are not. What seems impossible is possible, through the courage of self-awareness and self-reflection, the strength of discipline, the grace of healing, and the blessing of other people caring enough about us to patiently but firmly holding us to account.
What Jesus offers in the Sermon on the Mount is a powerful moral and spiritual vision. Jesus wants to inspire us with hope: more is possible! He does not intend to burden and harm us with unrealistic expectations. Humans are addicted to punishing, not God.
Pray with your anger. In God’s presence, ask yourself, “Am I right to be angry? What more vulnerable feelings am I masking with this anger?” Ask God, “Help me do what is right and help me do it with love and holy energy and appropriate urgency.”
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Photo used under Creative Commons from frankieleon