February 19, 2016
Friday of the First Week of Lent.
The good news for the Day
Jesus said to people wanting to learn from Him: “I am telling you—unless your goodness gets better than that of mere scholars (scribes) and religious conformists (Pharisees), you are not getting into the realm of what IS right. You have always heard people telling you: ‘You shall not commit murder; and whoever kills someone will be accountable to an indictment.’ But I am telling you, everyone staying angry with someone in your family will be accountable to a judgment. Anyone “trash-talking” will be accountable to a higher court, and someone saying ‘moron!’ will BE trash—to be burnt [in Gahanna].” (Matthew 5 20-22)
The most daily challenge Jesus presents is the challenge coming from getting mad at people. Sometimes it is a tiny thing—someone crosses in front of you on the sidewalk. Sometimes the challenge confronts your basic principles. Sometimes it is a strong difference of opinion, but sometimes it is even more significant—a whole future relationship at stake—to marry, or leave, or stay “best friends”—or keep someone in the family.
As an adult, you get angry often—irritated, furious, bothered—there is a huge spectrum of anger. Jesus is saying you need to remember costs when you entertain anger, or express it one way or another—how you convey it.
Just being mad at someone costs something. There is an intrinsic “court” that holds the angry person accountable. Maybe the anger IS justified. Jesus whipped moneychangers in anger. He seems upset when his mother reminds me at Cana that his buddies are drinking away the wine. So if you do get mad—remember that what you do about it is “liable to a judgment.”
The Good News is your awareness of consequences! Anger affects others, affects the world. If you spend energy expressing angry superiority or contempt (“moron!”), it means something. You can be free of that judgment! Jesus has awakened you to think ahead when you get mad.