Updated: Jul 6, 2021
Murderer. James 4 indicates that wars, fighting, and killing come from others getting in the way of what we want. Anger is a typical response to others getting in the way of what we want or desire. "I just want peace, but my kids or spouse keep me from the rest I deserve." "I want respect from my co-workers, but no one values how good I am or how hard I work." "Is it too much to ask to do this one thing I want? I do not ask for much." There are an infinite number of ruling desires that we struggle with and that draw the anger out of our own hearts. The conflict and destruction around us reveal the reality of our anger.
Have you ever killed someone when you did not get what you wanted? Likely, the answer is no, but before answering too quickly we should hear what Jesus says. Matthew 5:21-22 Jesus helps us to understand that murder, according to Him, is more than physically taking the life of another, but He expands it to include anger, insult, and name calling! Now ask, have we ever killed anyone according to the standard of Jesus? Murder and anger both have the same root desire: "I want what I want and you better not keep me from it. If you do, I will make sure that you are sorry."
Words are often the weapon of choice for us as anger assassins. Proverbs 12:18 states that the one who speaks rashly (as we often do in anger) is like one thrusting a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
What are your thoughts or words or names that you use for those who thwart your desires (rude driver, slow cashier, messy kid, nosey neighbor, inquiring spouse, liberal politician, incompetent co-worker, etc.)? Jesus includes name calling in this description of killing others. This includes our contained/restrained thoughts that do not exit our mouth as well as the descriptive names we let fly out of our mouths.
Jesus understands that anger destroys. We may not physically murder, but the death and carnage left by our words is equal to murder. Are we aware of the murderer within? Do we want to destroy those around us with our anger? Our only hope is for us to admit the reality of our anger and humble ourselves to the work of the Spirit in our hearts to alter our desire to seek God's desires above our desires.