“Under the laws of Moses the rule was, ‘If you murder, you must die.’ But I have added to that rule and tell you that if you are only angry, even in your own home, you are in danger of judgment! If you call your friend an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse him, you are in danger of the fires of hell.”
Jesus was not doing away with the Law or adding his own beliefs. Rather, he was giving a fuller understanding of why God made the specific law in the first place.
Killing is a terrible sin, but anger is a great sin too because it also violates God’s command to love. Anger in this case refers to a seething, brooding bitterness against someone. It is a dangerous emotion that always threatens to leap out of control, leading to violence, emotional hurt, increased mental stress, and spiritual damage. Anger keeps us from developing a spirit pleasing to God. Have you ever been proud that you didn’t strike out and say what was really on your mind? Self-control is good, but Christ wants us to practice thought control as well. Jesus said that we will be held accountable even for our attitudes.
James C. Galvin