In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus introduces several different subjects with variations on the words, “You have heard…” He could well have been indicating, without judgment, that we all have heard and experienced the same things and, consequently, have similar lessons to learn. The Sermon on the Mount teaches how to address and eliminate different forms of evil - the stuff that everyone has dealt with at one time or another.
One subject was anger. Jesus said, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." (Matthew 5:21-22)
Notice how anger is linked with hell. We’ve all been angry, or have been the recipient of someone's anger, at one time or another. What does it feel like? Exactly. Hellfire.
Once he had his listeners' attention, Jesus gave direction on when and how to cut off anger before it begins to complicate one's life.
He said, “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer..." (See ibid. 5:23-26)
Trust me, it all goes downhill from there.
To me, to “leave your offering at the altar” is to drop everything - every activity, interest, desire – until we have found love for our brother or sister or neighbor or enemy – until we have reconciled our brother with our understanding of divine Love.
It’s totally in prayer that this can be accomplished. If not, unhealed anger would contaminate all our offerings, all our prayers, and it would strangle the joy out of life.
I knew that when anger is released, healings often come quicker. But how could I start?
Jesus’ Sermon-message on healing anger, and Mary Baker Eddy’s inspired take on his meaning, pointed the way for me.
Jesus continued in the Sermon, by saying, “Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou are in the way with him.” Mrs. Eddy explained, “Suffer no claim of sin or of sickness to grow upon the thought. Dismiss it with an abiding conviction that it is illegitimate, because you know that God is no more the author of sickness than He is of sin. You have no law of His to support the necessity either of sin or sickness, but you have divine authority for denying that necessity and healing the sick.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 390)
Try reading that passage by substituting the word anger for sin. Sin is anger. And vice versa.
I followed Jesus' and Eddy’s instructions to a T. I dismissed the aggressive mental suggestion that anger was a power over which I had no control. I claimed, in prayer, my spiritual authority to stop it. And I could, you know. Letting go of anger never did depend on the behavior of anyone else. Anger and the accompanying sense of helplessness over it, was a sin that I had the right and ability to kick out of my experience at any point.
I was healed of the chronic pain that very day. That was more than ten years ago. It never came back.
Anger is not a built-in. It is not a part of anyone’s nature. I am not the angry type. Neither are you or anyone else. As God’s children we are the type of God, of universal, divine Love. Praying from that angle, anger cannot tie us down.
(MOJO is the confidence, clarity and feeling of momentum that indicates your prayers are moving you forward.)
- Dump the anger. Sweep it, shovel it. Do whatever it takes, but get all of it: even the little fuzzy anger-bunnies and nearly invisible anger-webs which lurk around and cling to the dark corners of thought.
- Do it quickly! To “agree with thine adversary” isn’t to agree with evil. “Agree” is Bible vocab for “resolve it." Resolve the anger question quickly, whenever it comes up.
- Suffer no claim of anger to spread and grow in your thought. Dismiss it right now, and stay close in prayer to the conviction that anger is sin, thus illegitimate. God didn’t give it to you. You can’t have it or hold it. It is not necessary to suffer from anger. God has given you the authority to clean it out as an influence.
(HEAD'S UP! Be sure to check back on Saturday to find Kay Olson's guest post on healing anger through love.)
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