Greetings in Christ,
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. Matthew 5:21–22 (ESV)
As I went to bed last night the news came of a shooting at a mosque in Quebec. This morning the news tells of 6 killed and many more wounded. Reports indicate that at least two people have been arrested in relation to this crime. The cycle of violence seems to be unending and there will be investigations that will attempt to bring to account those responsible. No one, regardless of who they are, should live in fear of violence inflicted on them simply because of who they are.
Jesus as He teaches us in the Sermon on the Mount is quite clear about the origin of murder, of violence. Every violent act has it’s beginning with anger growing in the heart. Anger is a dangerous thing in a sinner’s heart for it can grow and spread so quickly that it bursts forth from us in actions we can barely comprehend or control. At the extreme, anger leads to the taking of life, but long before the act is done, anger has paved the way.
Jesus teaches us to be attentive to our hearts so we may see early on what is growing there. He teaches us to recognize at an early stage the anger that seeks to undo us, name it for what it is and lay it before the Father. He teaches us to confess our anger to the Father and pray for His strength to dislodge the anger in our hearts. He teaches us to ask that any anger be replaced with His mercy and grace that we might then turn over to Him the anger that would control our lives.
Is anger ever justified? Yes, Jesus shows us this as He cleanses the Temple, but He is in control of his anger and it ceases when the need is past. Anger left uncontrolled will rapidly control us and our lives will be consumed by it.
Let us pray for the victims of this latest violence, for the victims of anger we do not hear about and that we ourselves might not let anger become the master of our lives.