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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Anger is serious business

by Barbara A. Schoeneberger

The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things: Anger by Bosch (photo in Public Domain)

Getting angry – who hasn’t? Especially getting angry with those we are closest to and who are most likely to act in ways that seem designed to trip our triggers. Some family members just can’t get together without blow-ups, some of which lead to physical violence. Some neighbors carry grudges against other neighbors and taunt them in various ways. Opposing organizations heave insults at one another in an attempt to diminish each other in the eyes of the public. Then there are blog comboxes that host innumerable ugly words.

Anger seems to be one of the easiest emotions to kindle and one that leads to resentment and a desire for revenge on others, a very dangerous situation. How seriously Jesus views anger and its outward expression in epithets hurled at one another should give all of us pause. The consequence of ad hominem attacks is hell if we fail to repent, as we learn in the Gospel for the Fifth Sunday After Pentecost in the 1962 calendar.

Jesus has just finished His Beatitudes sermon recounted in Matthew 5 and told the crowd that they are the salt of the earth and light of the world. Then He announces that He is here to fulfill the Law, not abolish it and that the Law will remain until the end of time.  All this leads up to the first sentence of Matt. 5: 20-24:

For I say to you that unless your justice exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.

The Scribes and Pharisees were all about externals in regard to the Law. Jesus tells us that we must be internally righteous or we will go to hell, no matter how holy we may look on the outside to everybody else. He says something related in Matt. 15:17-20, when the disciples run to Him with the information that the Pharisees are upset that he said to them, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man: but what cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.” In no uncertain terms Our Lord replies:

Do you not understand, that whatsoever entereth into the mouth, goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the privy? But the things which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart, and those things defile a man. For from the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man.

Continue reading at Barabara's blog  Suffering With Joy.

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