You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, "You shall not kill,"...But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment...
When I was growing up, "becoming angry" was listed under the fifth commandment in the examination of conscience before Confession. Being angry was not only considered "unlady-like," but a moral fault. Learning to be appropriately assertive was a great challenge.
Anger is a sign that pain is present. It is a feeling response, not a free choice. The moral issue concerns what we do with the anger. Jesus continues in this passage describing punishment for those who express anger by abusive speech. In this age of rampant cyber bullying and the hurling of venomous insults everywhere, great harm is done by angry words. But it is important that the pain or injustice that triggers anger is acknowledged and responded to appropriately. The angry Jesus turned over the tables of the money changers who were making his Father's house into a den of thieves.
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne