Anger is a funny thing for Christians. We often think that all anger is wrong and sinful. It is not. In Mark 3:3-6, Jesus is angry about the Pharisees (religious authority’s) uncaring attitudes. The key, I believe is to be careful to discern what it is that makes us angry as well as to something positive with our anger. Don’t express your anger in selfish or harmful ways. Use your anger to find a constructive solution rather than to tear people down. That’s what Jesus did here……He expressed his anger by correcting the problem–healing this man’s hand.
Mark 3:3-6 (TNIV)
3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” 4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. 5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
Our God is a God of people, not a God of rules. The rules are there to help us understand the concepts of behavior and to help us find our way in life. They are not there to “spoil the party” and make life dull.
As a parent, hopefully you are not so much about “the rules” with your kids as you are about them understanding the concepts so that they might avoid danger, find fulfillment in life and find joy in life. If you are “all about the rules” then examine yourself, turn off the “controlling” switch. If you are about the concepts, as I believe that God, indeed Jesus is, then give yourself a pat on the back. Pat yourself on the back because ….you are less interested in “YOU” controlling someone as you are in them GROWING. Remember….God is our Father…..and a good one at that!
The highest rule in the Bible is “love”. How do I know that, well….let’s look at Scripture:
First, we’ll start in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy at what is called “The Shema” [She-ma]:
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (TNIV)
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Next, let’s look at what James, the half-brother of Jesus says in James 2:8:
Where did James get this? Let’s look at what Jesus says in what, I believe, is the most important verse in the Bible. Jesus, God in the flesh, is asked directly what the most important rule is. That’ tells me that His answer will be profound. Let’s look:
Matthew 22:36-40 (TNIV)
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
I found this in a book and thought it might be well worth including here:
Does love govern the rules you follow? Ask yourself:
1. Does the rule serve God’s purposes?
2. Does the rule reveal God’s character–mercy, justice, and compassion?
3. Does the rule help people get into God’s family, or keep people out?
4. Does the rule have strong biblical roots?
Good rules pass all four tests.
Anger is indeed one letter short of Danger! We must always strive to live by the Royal Law!