Angry

You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.

(Matthew 5:21-22, NRSV)

The chances that we will murder somebody are thankfully slim. The chances that we will get angry enough at someone to want them dead or hurt or at least knocked down a few notches are regretfully great.

So, Lord, work in our hearts to take away the negative and dangerous attitudes we sometimes harbor toward others.

But that’s not enough.

Lord, work in our hearts to cause us to grow in respect, in care, in compassion, in mercy, and in love for other people—and especially for those who hurt us or who do things that make us angry.

We pray these things most earnestly, Lord, because clearly we can’t make such outlandish progress on our own.

Amen.

This post originally appeared as the Day 67 entry in Praying with Matthew: 365 Days of Gospel-Shaped Devotions by Michael L. Ruffin.

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