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Developing Kingdom Character - Deadly Attitudes
January 19, 2016

A 27-year-old Minnesota man pleaded guilty to fifth-degree assault charges for violently losing his temper.  According to the criminal complaint, the man was waiting at a bus stop when he started to harass a 59-year-old woman. Witnesses say he yelled at her over what he felt was a general lack of respect. When she took out her cell phone to call police, the man punched her in the face. When a 63-year-old man tried to stop him, the angry man hit the intervener with a blue folder.  Police tracked him down by using the papers inside, his anger management homework.  He was on his way to his anger management class.

The Pharisees interpreted the law, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13) very literally, getting off the hook for angry outbursts, insults, etc.  Jesus, however, said that not only was homicide/murder wrong but also insults, verbal abuse and name calling (Matthew 5:21-26), indictable by eternal punishment.  Developing Kingdom Character requires followers of Jesus to manage anger.  So incriminating were passionate outbursts that Jesus said it was more important to seek reconciliation than to offer tithes and offerings. 

Beware of nursing anger.  While getting angry at the right thing is acceptable (Ephesians 4:26), stoking that it is not.  Pay attention to what triggers your anger and signs that you are angry, i.e. clenched fists, short breath, and rapid heart rate.  Seek for methods for diffusing anger, i.e. exercise, time outs, breathing deeply, prayer.  Seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance in dealing with your anger.  Professional help might be in order.  Make every attempt to settle broken relationships as quickly as possible (Romans 12:18).  Is there someone God is bringing to your mind; someone you have hurt with your anger?  Make it right.  Be reconciled and restore that relationship.  It might take time and it could be humbling, but that is what Jesus was talking about in developing kingdom character.

pj

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