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ANGER IS A NATURAL BUT DANGEROUS EMOTION
Anger “without a good cause” is ‘unlawful’
Unresolved anger gives Satan a powerful and destructive grip on our souls, minds, or thoughts. (Rom. 12:19; Eph. 4:26-27.) However, the notion that believers may never become angry and simply have to forget the abuses that provoke us to anger, is not Scriptural. Anger is a natural emotion and not sin in itself. Anger is necessary to help us survive in, and deal with dangerous situations. Jesus, still ministering under the Old Testament Covenant before Golgotha and Pentecost, justly became angry when He saw how the people turned the temple into a robbers’ den, (Mt. 21:13, KJV.) (Under Jesus’ New Covenant, God explained in Acts 7:44-50 that He does not live in buildings made with human hands, 1 Cor. 6:15-20.)
So, God does not forbid natural emotions – but He does command us to constantly control and manage our emotions according to His Scriptural guidelines. Jesus warned in Mt. 5:22, “I say to you that whoever is angry with [someone else] without a good [or just, fair, and moral] cause shall be in danger of the judgment!”
Controlled and soon to be resolved anger is, therefore, ‘legitimate’ in cases where it is moral to abhor the sin, which causes natural anger, (Read Jn. 2:14-17; Rom. 12:9.) Abuse and sin are not insignificant problems. Therefore, anger over crucial matters that affect not only ourselves but other people and God’s creation as well, is “anger with a good cause.”
Yet, Jesus declare we do not have the ‘right’ to be angry without a good cause. In other words, it is childish, selfish, egotistic, idolatrous, and incredibly sinful to allow anger into our minds over trivial and repented abuse. When Jesus said that whoever is angry without a good cause is in danger of God’s judgment, He wasn’t speaking to lost and sinful unbelievers, but to hard-hearted Christian and other religious abusers, who remain angry with their victims over trivial, manipulative, exaggerated, and even fabricated causes. But of course, God’s Moral Law is universal and affect all people. Such anger is completely ‘unlawful,’ and brings the offender dangerously close to God’s eternal punishment! Our Lord Jesus forbade His disciples such disobedience to His Word by declaring, “Unless your righteousness exceeds the [angry, backbiting, self-righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the Kingdom of heaven…”
Scripture forbade us to hold on to anger
Anger has the incredible power to quickly spiral out of control, turning the tables on innocent victims of abuse by bringing them to a state of hatred and sin; threatening their spiritual, emotional, and physical lives. Hence, all forms of anger (and hurt) must be dealt according to the clear dictates of Scripture.
To this effect, Paul wrote in Eph. 4:26, “Be angry [at gross offenses, while rejecting anger over trivial or selfish causes,] but do not sin [in the process of resolving anger.] Do not let the sun go down on your wrath, [do not hold on to anger but work through it as soon as possible, as anger will grow into hatred and vengeance and destroy even the righteous and those around them.] Do not avenge yourselves, [or refuse the urge to gratify or vent your anger in a destructive, sinful way,] but rather give place to [God’s] wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
Matthew Chapter 5 is Jesus’ handbook on anger management
Minor damages and insults: “Let him take your jacket as well and let him slap you twice in the face”
We must not ignore or lessen the importance of Jesus’ commandments. Similarly, we should never read more into Jesus’ words and illustrative parables than He intended. In Matthew chapter 5, Jesus addressed the roots of sin; (sinful anger in particular,) and told us how to manage minor and escalating offenses, which, left unchecked, will lead to major problems.
He commanded, “Do not resist an evil person, for if anyone wants to sue you to take away your shirt, let him have your jacket also…” Jesus’ disciples must never place themselves in a position that warrants legal proceedings against them, (Rom. 13:7-8; 1 Cor. 6:1.) If it should happen that “an evil person” sues us unjustly for something minor like a shirt or jacket; these items are replaceable and not worth much. We must abstain from arguments and troublemaking over such unimportant and minor matters, and even be prepared to suffer one more injustice from the same person, who unlawfully took our shirt, by allowing him to claim our jacket as well. Such an unjust lawsuit would be provoking and insulting, but it will not damage us spiritually, emotionally, physically, or harm us financially. Fact remains, it will not take any skin off our backs to yield, for peace sake, to one or two minor, unfair harms! However, Jesus was not saying that we should allow anyone to keep on extorting and stealing from us!
Jesus continued in Matthew 5, “Whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” Note that this allegory does not demand subjection to constant abuse! A slap in the face signifies an occasional and minor insult or provocation, not continuous, soul or life threatening assault. An insult does not represent rage, rape, molestation, shouting and swearing, or a violent beating. A casual insult or two does not destroy our name, self-worth, or integrity, as it does not relate to defamation of character or slander, which is emotional and spiritual murder, (1 Jn. 3:15.)
In this case, no bones were broken. The insult might have been humiliating, but it wasn’t life-destroying. In this broken world, we will have to endure many insults. So, we must ignore sporadic insults; turn away, forgive, and never seek revenge. Prov. 10:12 refers to such circumstances when stating, “Hatred, [or bearing grudges over minor loss and insult] stirs up strife, but love, [self-control and forgiveness,] covers [or simply forgets] all [minor] sins [without paying much attention to them.]”
Note that our Lord did not command us to submit to major abuse! Neither did He instruct us to be “passive” laggards, who aggressively pretend to “submit” to robbery and insult. Jesus forbade anger that leads to revenge over non-lethal injustices and occasional insults, of which we should take little notice for peace’s sake, (1 Cor. 7:15.)
UNRESOLVED ANGER SPIRALS INTO MURDER AND SELF DESTRUCTION
‘Raca’ and ’You fool’ mean character murder, or defamation of character
Jesus also warned in Mt. 5:21-22, “You have heard that… you shall not murder and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment… And whoever says to his [neighbor] ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council, [human court.]”
Jesus wasn’t again making the Old Testament law of ‘an eye for an eye’ into legalism; He was applying the outward Old Testament law to the inward heart of angry humanity. Jesus actually said, (paraphrased,) ‘You know that physical murder is a most horrendous crime, which deserves the death sentence. But now I say to you that everyone who is angry with his neighbor groundlessly; without real or good provocation, reason, or in moderation, will himself become an emotional and spiritual murderer.’ (We ourselves can so easily become vengeful narcissists!) This means, unreasonable and unresolved anger will lead to tongue-murder (and even physical murder) through the reviling of our neighbor’s character, by calling him ‘Raca!’ In modern terms, the word ‘Raca’ qualifies as the crime of defamation of character, or crimen injuria. )
¨ Jesus wasn’t forbidding us to call a real, unrepentant thief “a thief,” or a real prostitute “a prostitute,” neither was He forbidding descriptive symbols relating to true character. Jesus Himself used such allegories in Lu. 13:32, “Go, tell that fox…” And in Mt. 23:33, He called the Hebrew Sanhedrin or temple masters “Serpents [and a] brood of vipers…”
On the other hand, ‘Raca’ is an undeserved swearword, intended as verbal abuse; a word derived from the root-verb ‘to spit.’ Raca means the person is ‘as vile and worthless as spittle,’ ‘good for nothing;’ ‘will never amount to anything,’ etcetera. So, by commanding us to abstain from destructive name-calling, (not from descriptive allegories,) our Lord forbade us to call innocent people undeserved, character-defaming names. Jesus warned that the use of words like ‘Raca’ constitutes a serious crime, which necessitates severe spiritual and legal consequences, as in the legality of God’s eternal judgment and in a judicial court. Yet, most abusers unrepentantly commit tongue-murder without ever restraining themselves or considering the severe harm they are doing to the abused, while, in most cases, family and friends participate or stand idly by without a thought to their suffering victims, or the impending judgment of God!
In this context, ‘You Fool!’ is much more than an insult, and it does not merely refer to uncalculated behavior. It is a word spoken as a destructive curse. Jesus forbade cursing because it attacks the victim’s mental capacity, worth, life, and work in general, and intents to condemn him to be rejected and expelled from God, his work, family, and community!
Sources conclude that, where Scripture calls people ‘fools,’ it does not mean they are mentally retarded for rejecting the Savior or the truth of God’s Word. Scripture refers to ‘fools’ in the sense that their decisions, words, or behavior are irrational or illogical. For instance, Ps. 14:1 states, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God!’”
However, the reviling abuser to whom Jesus referred, was not separating the person from his bad behavior. He was calling his innocent victim ‘a cursed fool,’ attacking his intelligence and self-worth. Also, abusers incite the family and community of their victims to either actively participate, or to keep silent by turning a ‘blind eye,’ which constitute their approval of, and so-called “passive” participation in emotional murder, (Lev. 5:1-5; Prov. 29:24-25; 17:15; Rom. 1:32.)
Unresolved anger will ‘defile many’
Most abusers, narcissists too, choose to fuel their unreasonable anger for a whole lifetime; never satisfying their insatiable lust for control, revenge, and emotional murder. Abuse is always an escalating process. Shamelessly, they never let go of their victims and they never take responsibility for their harmful actions. Secret destruction combined with fits of narcissistic rage, false accusation, lies, manipulation, unrepentance, and blame-shifting are their most effective weapons of self-empowerment. Self-entitled as they are, they always turn themselves into “victims” to relentlessly justify their crimes against the abused, who have never really harmed them. That is so because they believe the abused committed the ‘unforgivable crime’ against them for withstanding their inhumane maltreatment in some way or another.
In utter disobedience to Jesus’ commandments to reconciliation, they never make a single attempt to tell the abused exactly what the abused have done to upset them so, (except to lie and falsely accuse them to cover their sins,) or what they expect the abused to do to end their heartless bullying, (Mt. 18:15-20.) All the attempts of the abused to resolve conflicts will fail, because abusers are not interested in settling anything. Sadistically and without conscience, they thrive on openly and secretly creating chaos and emotional murder on their captives.
We must understand that all unresolved anger goes beyond normal emotion, reason, and other things related to the natural world. Abusers are evil geniuses although many pretend otherwise, because their devious methods and madness flow directly from demons and darkness. Over time, their refusal to resolve their anger escalate into a controlling, caustic force, which usually ends in overall ruin, (1 Jn. 3:14-15.) Even if the real victims, on numerous occasions, try to ‘pursue peace’ with vengeful abusers, the “root of bitterness, which caused so much trouble that many became defiled,” (Heb. 12:15,) cannot be treated because of their deliberate disobedience to God’s Word. Such abusers, by their own choice, are beyond the reach of God’s mercy, which were shown to them by their victims each time they pleaded for peace and reconciliation, (Eph. 4:17-19.) The goal of so-called ‘victimized’ abusers that choose to satisfy their unlawful anger, is to humiliate, control, and punish the abused into a state of total hopelessness without allowing them any way of escape.
It is common that their heartless abuse infect the abused as well. If victims remain angry without telling the abusers their mistakes, thus granting themselves an outlet for their righteous anger, and giving their abusers the opportunity (or God’s grace) to ask forgiveness and repent, they actually commit emotional suicide. God commanded in Lev. 19:17, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke him, and not bear sin because of him, [nor oppress and persecute him secretly in sinful, unresolved anger like narcissists do.]” Thus, the unresolved, righteous anger of the abused then turns into the distorted ‘submission’ of Trauma Bonding. Over time, this leads to the perverse self-defense mechanism called ‘Stockholm syndrome,’ where victims see their abusers as heroes.
Victims rarely escape this emotional death-row state. It is in this desolate place where the abused turn to physical suicide and other forms of self-obliteration such as terminal illness, caused by living in a constant fight or flight mode, overcome them. This give abusers the thrill of complete satisfaction, and puff their grandiosity beyond all reason, when they finally see their victims succumb to their obliteration and perish from their relentless evil.
DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER AND SLANDER CONSTITUTE THE CRIME OF “CRIMEN INJURIA”
The persecuting crime of “defamation of character” means, ‘to intentionally and unremittingly insult, offend, harm, demise, and damage another’s character, humanity, name, intelligence, honest work, financial and social status, and dignity to destroy the person’s self-worth, integrity, and life.’
The crime of “slander” means, ‘to repeat or spread falsehoods and matters relayed to you confidentially and trustingly. To disseminate malicious lies, unproven hearsay, uncontextual and twisted words and situations, as well as harmful truths that are not defensive or in public interest, as it serves no restitutional, educational, or cautionary purpose.’ In addition, slander means ‘to spread defamation of character statements to even just a third party with the intention of hurting, harming, ruining, demising, and dehumanizing another’s character, intelligence, name, work, financial and social status, and reputation in the eyes of a family and/or community; resulting in emotional pain, suffering, separation from spouses, family, friends, community, work, and/or financial loss.’
Under South African law, both these terms constitute the crime of crimen injuria. Wikipedia describes these crimes as follows, “Crimen injuria is a crime under South African common law, defined to be the act of "unlawfully, intentionally, and seriously impairing the dignity [and name] of another… The crime is used in the prosecution of certain instances of road and other types of rage, stalking, racially offensive language, [family feuds,] and emotional abuse."
Why Slander or Crimen Injuria is such an Evil Crime
Our names personify who we are; our very being here on earth. Therefore, Prov. 22:1 declares, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.” Riches can be lost or stolen, but the morality of good character will still prevail. When our moral character is defamed, however, not even great riches can ever buy it back again. Hence, God strictly forbade gossipers or slanderers and their co-conspirators to destroy the characters and reputations of others, (Ex. 23:1-2.)
¨ Someone once described the sin of lying and other types of slander as a pillow stuffed with millions of feathers, emptied into a strong wind from a high rooftop. To do restitution for the murder of the victim’s name, character, family, work, income, and life, the murderer should collect every single little feather and stuff it back into the pillow! God will surely judge and repay such heartless, loveless hatred for one’s ‘neighbor,’ for the ‘wind’ of evil tongues spread slander much quicker and further than any natural wind can.
One of the greatest spirits of destruction is, therefore, that wicked ghost called “Slander.” More marriages, homes, families, friendships, congregations, and other relationships have been destroyed by Slander than by anything else. The crime of slander consists of lies, deceit, and betrayal.
Paul reserved this crime for a judgment from God in Rom. 1:30-32, “…They are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God… proud, boasters… undiscerning, [not discerning abusers from the abused and truth from lies,] untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; knowing that those who practice such things are deserving of death, [as are those] who approve of those who practice them!”
The methodology of that evil ghost named Slander
While Eph. 5:11 tells us to expose truths that are in personal and public interest, that demon called “Slander” has nothing to do with truth – although he also uses truth to harm his innocent victims! “Slander” is a formidable foe. He can take control of even ‘good’ Christian tongues to direct fiery darts at the abused; incinerating their good names and moral character; grieving their hearts, and destroying every aspect of their lives, (James Chapter 3.)
That demon Slander doesn’t shoot paper darts. He passionately hates God’s creation, the sincere children of God especially, and his aim is to rape his victims spiritually, emotionally, and physically. E.g., I once had to counsel the shocked and guilt-riddled classmates of a high school boy, whom they slandered and shunted because he did not fit into their clique. One day, he disappeared. The police found him in the veldt where he hanged himself from a tree branch. What his classmates did, can never be undone. They did not merely rob him of his name and self-worth, but of his life.
That underhanded demon Slander always uses people to wage a full-out war against their victims to gain glory for themselves; collecting as many supporters as possible to strengthen their hold on people and important positions in society. They isolate their victims by destroying their relationships and support systems, and then, Slander and his pack of ravaging wolves (known in psychology as Flying Monkeys,) shake their victims to the core. They promote such distrust in people and in God that the abused lose their salvation – and as seen, even their physical lives, (1 Tim. 6:12.)
God stated in Prov. 17:15, “He who justifies the wicked and condemns the just is an abomination to the Lord!” Thus, James wrote in chapter 3, “The [unbridled] tongue is a little member, which creates [disastrous] things. See how great a forest a little fire destroys! The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity… which defiles the whole body [of abusers; the souls of those who participate in or consent to abuse, and the souls and lives of innocent victims!]”
When is it tongue-murder or crimen injuria, and punishable before God and a judicial court?
Love, (Agape,) fairness, impartiality, or the fruit of the Holy Spirit, (Gal. 5:22,) must always govern Jesus’ disciples – (may God have mercy on us all to obey God’s contextual Word and the leading of the Spirit!) God commands us to expose unrepentant sin and non-stop sinners for the benefit of persons, families, and society. However, John warned that we should never do anything, (such as exposing sin,) with the wrong motive, because “Whoever hates (his brother, spouse, parents, children…) [will become] a [tongue and even a physical] murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him,” (1 Jn. 3:15.) In Mt. 5:22, Jesus made it plain that emotional or tongue-murder is as physical murder.
“Part of the right of free speech is that anyone who wishes, may express his genuine opinion on any matter of public interest,” which will benefit and/or protect persons, families, or society - provided it is fair, impartial, and true! - [Family Guide to The Law in South Africa; Third Edition.] In order not to quality as slander or crimen injuria, even truthful information, either written or related to even just a third person, must be for public interest and benefit; or be informative and profitable to society, or protective and beneficial to a specific section of society (such as a marriage, family, or a group like Jesus’ believers,) or intended as a warning to those who are in danger of suffering through the unrepentant misconduct of others. [I.e., publishing the names of convicted murderers and other criminals is not crimen injuria.] What is said publically may be repeated in context, fairness, impartiality, and truth. Publicly means, if you relayed your opinion via the media, it may be repeated. (If you lied intentionally or disclosed mean, distorted stories of non-public interest via the media, [or in a family and society,] you can be sued. But to expose a willfully unrepentant and otherwise unstoppable abuser such as a slanderer is in public interest, as such people deceive, use, and abuse others as well, and draw them into sin and emotional, even spiritual and physical murder.)
If you yourself told your secret to more than one friend, it’s not a secret anymore. The third person then has the choice to repeat your secrets at the peril of becoming an accomplice to slander or crimen injuria. However, the story must be relayed truthfully and in context, and must still be beneficial to the victim, family, or society, otherwise it will amount to spiteful troublemaking and character assassination. If you spread character slaying rumors on hearsay, and it turns out to be false, or that the intention was merely malicious backbiting and without the motive to benefit the hearer or society, that is crimen injuria. You can then be hurled into court together with all your friends and other accomplices!
Private confrontation is a commandment of God and not crimen injuria
Concerning disputes, God commanded fidelity in Prov. 25:9, (fidelity means faithfulness, trustworthiness, impartiality, and reliability.) He said, “Debate [or defend] your case with your neighbor, [when a quarrel arises between you two,] and do not disclose the secret [entrusted to you] to another; [do not avenge yourself by repeating what had been told to you confidentially;] lest he who hears it exposes your shame; [lest someone tells your former friend of your betrayal,] and your reputation be ruined; [because then everyone will know that you are an untrustworthy slanderer, and your former friend can sue you in court for the crime of crimen injuria.]”
God forbade us to “hate our neighbors in our hearts.” He directed us to deal with anger and disputes, stating, “You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, [in a decent and Godly manner,] and not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, [by slandering his name and persecuting him,] nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I Am the Lord,” (Lev. 19:17.)
God declared in Prov. 10:18, “Whoever hides hatred has lying lips. [The “passive” aggressive hypocrite who keeps anger in his heart hates his neighbor, but he never speaks to his neighbor to rectify the situation.] And whoever spreads slander, [thus taking revenge or aiding revenge without an attempt to resolve the matter privately,] is a fool.”
It is not crimen injuria to confront your abuser directly and privately for the purpose of resolving the matter between you two. In times of dispute, the first instruction of both God and the judicial law, is to debate the matter between the two of you in private. For the sake of clearing the air and to enlighten the mind of the unrepentant abuser to the reality of what he or she is doing, we often have to express the most hurtful truths to that person privately, and that is not provocation, slander or defamation of character, as the intention is restoration, not destruction.
Godly confrontation to resolve problems can never qualify as abuse. Abuse is unprovoked, repeated and escalating assaults, either privately or publically, with the intention of destroying character, self-worth, and integrity.