Facts on Anger and Promises to God for 9-13 Year Olds

Categories: Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5:21-26 (Anger)

  • After being filled up by the beatitudes, the disciples are given “commands.”
  • Jesus says, “You have heard it said, ‘you shall not kill,’ but I say anyone who gets angry with his brother is subject to judgment.”
  • Greek has several words for “angry.”
  • This one means someone who is being angry.
  • It takes effort to stay angry at someone like this.
  • Jesus then gives three levels of anger. The first one is that of resentment, holding a grudge against someone.
  • That can get worsse and go into the second level of name calling.
  • Finally, the third level of anger explodes into telling someone off, really being mean towards someone, seeing them as worthless.
  • There are consequences to each of these levels of anger.
  • And the consequences get worse at each level, and they’re pretty severe.
  • But what if we get angry and act out from anger?
  • Jesus does not leave us here. He shows a way out—a way to repair, to do a do-over, to make things right.
  • First of all, if we are on our way to worship God and we remember that we’re angry at someone, we are to leave the altar at once. First, we are to go to and be reconciled to our brother: we need to work things out or make it right.
  • Jesus is saying that if we really want to serve and love God, we have to serve and love others.
  • Our human relationships affect our relationship with God. And then, we are to go back and worship.
  • Jesus offers another example: “Settle matters quickly with your adversary.” An adversary is like an enemy, or the person you’re mad at or who is mad at you.
  • This command also comes with a warning that if we don’t, the judge may hand us over to the officer to be thrown into prison.
  • This can be seen two different ways. We could actually be hauled into court before a judge. Or, we could think of this as how our character is judged, and what the effects of an angry character might be—certainly not good.
  • This warning is severe. The longer we choose to stay angry and not try to resolve it, the worse everything gets.
  • So we want to resolve problems and make things right with others as quickly as possible.

Matthew 5:33-37 (Promises to God)

  • The next command talks about oaths. An oath is like a formal promise.
  • Jesus says, “It has been said, ‘Don’t break your oaths,’ but I say, ‘Don’t make any oaths.’”
  • This command is about our speech—what we say.
  • Jesus demands truthfulness of every single word. There is to be no distinction between words that have to be true and those that don’t.
  • The Christian is answerable for every word, not just the ones that are spoken under oath.
  • If no one ever lied, there would, of course, never be a need for an oath because we could trust everyone to speak honestly. But if truthfulness is only assured under an oath, then it’s like saying that it’s okay to lie sometimes.
  • Jesus is trying to explain that all speech has to be genuine and sincere and truthful.
  • He continues, “Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.…”
  • People didn’t ever want to use the name of God frivolously, lightly, in vain. So they came up with all sorts of things they could say without ever using the name of God.
  • Yet who could swear by heaven and not immediately think of God? It belongs to the realm of the divine, of God.
  • Much the same thing can be said about swearing by the earth, identified as God’s footstool.
  • The earth is simply not under our command. It’s under God’s command.
  • Likewise, Jerusalem is God’s city.
  • But people tried to get away with it by saying that if someone swore by Jerusalem and happened to be facing in the wrong direction, it didn’t count. That’s a great example of being sneaky.
  • “And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.”
  • The person who swears by his or her own head is being particularly arrogant, full of himself, bragging.
  • Now there are times when we do need to take an oath. The world may require oaths from its citizens.
  • The disciple must be absolutely clear and honest.
  • “Yes means yes,” “no means no.” Everything else is too much explanation or commentary.
  • Jesus is really saying every word needs to be truthful.
  • Speech beyond clear “yes or no” is somewhat devilish in that it seeks to impress others, showing how much we know, how clever we are, how great we are, or all sorts of other things.