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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Did Paul Disagree with Jesus about Anger?

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TMK
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Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5048
NC, USA

 Did Paul Disagree with Jesus about Anger?

By Steve Gregg
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A correspondent wrote:

Jesus said, "I tell you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment." (Matthew 5:22)

He didn't say "angry with his brother without a cause" as those versions have it that were translated from Textus Receptus. It seems obvious that someone had added those words, perhaps someone who wanted to justify his anger. I have never known anyone who was angry without a cause. There's always a reason for anyone's anger.

The word that is translated as "without a cause" is "εικη." That word is not found in the two manuscripts that contain the verse which are dated prior to A.D. 300. Those two are Papyrus 67 and Papyrus 96.

So Jesus seems to have taught that it is wrong to be angry.

However, the apostle Paul wrote, "Be angry and do not sin. (Ephesians 4:26)
So it seems that Paul thought that it was okay to be angry, if you avoided doing anything sinful while you were angry.

Any thoughts about these seemingly differing views concerning anger? Or is there actually no difference at all?
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Steve's response:

Even though "without a cause" does not appear in the oldest manuscripts, and may have been added as a scribal gloss, it seems necessary for us to assume some such qualification in Jesus' absolute-sounding statement.

First, because hyperbole is very common in the Sermon on the Mount, and must have been expected to be recognized by the hearers. If taken literally, the sermon would dictate many strange practices, including: that one must never pray outside a locked closet; one must give to every person who asks for something (even one's children?); one must always go two miles when the one compelling him may wish only to go one mile; one must never say anything more than "yay" or "nay;" when sued at law, one must give the plaintiff double what he is suing for; one should check regularly to see if there is a plank in his eye that needs removing; one should never make moral judgments; etc. Hyperbole is very common in scripture—and especially in the teachings of Jesus (e.g., Matt.11:23; 12:32; 13:57; 16:4; 17:20; 18:8-9, 22; 19:24, 29; 21:21; 23:24; Luke 13:33; 14:26; 17:4; etc.)

Second, Jesus Himself got angry. I am not referring to the cleansing of the temple, where one might well deduce that Jesus was experiencing anger, but in Mark's direct statement that Jesus had anger: "when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said..." (Mark 3:5).

Third, Jesus and Paul both seem to speak on anger as if the subject requires nuance. Paul also said to "let all...anger...be put away from you" (Ephesians.4:31). This was only five verses after his earlier statement, where he quoted Psalm 4:4 as to the need to "be angry and do not sin."

I do not believe that Jesus was intending to condemn every instance of anger (including His own). The context (Matt.5:21-22) suggests that He was referring to the anger that is the mental counterpart of murder, just as He later forbad the lust that is the mental counterpart of adultery (vv.27-28). John probably had the same teaching in mind when he wrote "Whoever hates his brother is a murderer" (1 John 3:15). Not all anger is hateful.

I believe that anger and fear are both emotions that we are repeatedly told to control and expel from our lives. They are both God-given visceral responses to certain stimuli—and appropriate in certain instances. Both are intended to motivate to appropriate action. We would be very unloving if we were not angry at certain situations requiring our courageous intervention (e.g., abortion or the kidnapping and selling of girls into sex-slavery). We would rarely speak out for justice if we were never vexed by injustices (as Jesus was).

Similarly, fear is an important motivator to action—like the action of getting off the railroad tracks when the train is coming. Anger and fear are both emotions felt even by animals—meaning that are amoral, in themselves. The problems with such emotions (concerning which we are often warned in scripture) is that both of them may lead us to sin. Anger may prevent us from loving our enemy. Fear, also, when joined with cowardice, may tempt us to disregard intimidating duties.



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Todd

 2019/2/9 9:19Profile
TrueWitness
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Joined: 2006/8/10
Posts: 499


 Re: Did Paul Disagree with Jesus about Anger?

I believe it is acceptable and even healthy to hate and be angry about actions and situations but it is unacceptable to hate the other person or wish calamity or "evil" upon them. We as humans still "in process" of sanctification often have difficulty in separating a person's "who" from their "do". It is justified and understandable to want a murderer to be brought to justice. If the murdered person was close and loved by you, your emotions color your objectivity and you get caught up with strong emotions toward the murderer and it is easy to want to hate them.

If you find yourself angry with another person we are to go to that person (after we have calmed down) and calmly discuss our grievance and try to mediate a resolution. Sometimes this is easier said than done. In sum, it is acceptable to be angry about an unjust action or situation but it is not acceptable to hate or want revenge or vigilante justice upon a person.

-Daniel

 2019/2/9 10:05Profile
twayneb
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Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 1915
Joplin, Missouri

 Re: Did Paul Disagree with Jesus about Anger?

Man was created in the image of God. God is shown in the Bible to have every emotion we have. The difference being that God's emotions are pure and have not been corrupted and perverted. Ours, on the other hand, have been corrupted by sin, and as a result are perverse, twisted from what they were intended to be.

James says that the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God. But God, when expressing anger, is still righteous. In fact, we have coined the phase "righteous indignation" to express anger that is justified and right to feel in a moment.

For example, it is totally right to feel anger when we see sin running rampant and destroying people. However, we must take care that we do not allow that anger to move over into our soul realm and our flesh to react in an unrighteous way. For then we have introduced the wrath of man.

This is why we are taught that our minds are renewed as we are transfigured into His image. This is why the word of God is said to be able to divide between soul and spirit. Primarily it is in our emotions that these two, soul and spirit, get so muddled up. It takes God's word (both written in scripture and spoken through His Spirit to us) to differentiate. How often have we felt anger only to have the Holy Spirit speak to us and tell us that our anger is unjustified and that we are in the flesh?

As to Matthew 5:22, we can try to parse out this verse using original texts, lexicons, etc., but I think looking at it in context is fully sufficient to see the meaning. Jesus is comparing the law with the heart here. It is example after example of, "You know the law says, but I say..." He is demonstrating to the people that to be truly righteous, a man must be righteous like God is righteous, which is impossible in the flesh and only possible if we receive His righteousness.

So he says, and I paraphrase, Look here guys. The law teaches you that you shall not commit murder, and that a person who has murdered is in danger of the judgement. But I tell you if you have the kind of anger in your heart that makes you want to kill, you have committed that murder already in your heart and are still in danger of the judgement. Look at what Jesus taught later in Matthew 15:19. John reiterates this in 1 John 3:15.

So I think this might be a case of a person missing the forest because he is inspecting a tree too closely.


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Travis

 2019/2/10 10:47Profile
twayneb
Member



Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 1915
Joplin, Missouri

 Re: Did Paul Disagree with Jesus about Anger?

Man was created in the image of God. God is shown in the Bible to have every emotion we have. The difference being that God's emotions are pure and have not been corrupted and perverted. Ours, on the other hand, have been corrupted by sin, and as a result are perverse, twisted from what they were intended to be.

James says that the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God. But God, when expressing anger, is still righteous. In fact, we have coined the phase "righteous indignation" to express anger that is justified and right to feel in a moment.

For example, it is totally right to feel anger when we see sin running rampant and destroying people. However, we must take care that we do not allow that anger to move over into our soul realm and our flesh to react in an unrighteous way. For then we have introduced the wrath of man.

This is why we are taught that our minds are renewed as we are transfigured into His image. This is why the word of God is said to be able to divide between soul and spirit. Primarily it is in our emotions that these two, soul and spirit, get so muddled up. It takes God's word (both written in scripture and spoken through His Spirit to us) to differentiate. How often have we felt anger only to have the Holy Spirit speak to us and tell us that our anger is unjustified and that we are in the flesh?

As to Matthew 5:22, we can try to parse out this verse using original texts, lexicons, etc., but I think looking at it in context is fully sufficient to see the meaning. Jesus is comparing the law with the heart here. It is example after example of, "You know the law says, but I say..." He is demonstrating to the people that to be truly righteous, a man must be righteous like God is righteous, which is impossible in the flesh and only possible if we receive His righteousness.

So he says, and I paraphrase, Look here guys. The law teaches you that you shall not commit murder, and that a person who has murdered is in danger of the judgement. But I tell you if you have the kind of anger in your heart that makes you want to kill, you have committed that murder already in your heart and are still in danger of the judgement. Look at what Jesus taught later in Matthew 15:19. John reiterates this in 1 John 3:15.

So I think this might be a case of a person missing the forest because he is inspecting a tree too closely.


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Travis

 2019/2/10 17:26Profile
CofG
Member



Joined: 2017/2/12
Posts: 271
Cambodia

 Re:

Anger in the teaching of Paul and Jesus ( that is teaching from the Father by the Spirit) has to do with hating your brother. Hating your brothers is the equivalent of wanting to do them harm. This harm can mean physical injury, calling them fool or failing to do the good you know you should do when they have need.which is to say to love them. This is what 1 John 3 teaches in saying there is only love and hate, implying indifference to a brother in need is hate as well. Anger is evil when hate or intending harm is the fruit which is almost always the result when anger is allowed to gain a foothold. It isn’t just about murder.


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Robert

 2019/2/10 23:42Profile





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