Whosoever Is Angry with His Brother – 3 Nephi 12:21-22

21 Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, and it is also written before you, that thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment of God;
22 But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
(3 Nephi 12:21-22, Matthew 5:21-22)

Is it wrong to be angry?

In the passage above, the Savior compares anger with murder. What does He mean?

To take a person’s life is the ultimate act of enmity. But we can be guilty of many other sins which are less severe but are also rooted in enmity: abuse, neglect, name-calling, and even unkind thoughts and feelings.

In some translations of the Bible, including the King James Version, the phrase “whosoever is angry with his brother” is followed by the modifier “without a cause.” But the Book of Mormon, like most translations of the Bible, excludes that phrase. (See biblehub.com: Matthew 5:22.)  The Savior is condemning unkind feelings toward others, regardless of whether those feelings are justified or not.

President Thomas S. Monson pointed out that, in Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible, the Apostle Paul asks, “Can ye be angry, and not sin?” (JST Ephesians 4:26). President Monson then asked, “Is it possible to feel the Spirit of our Heavenly Father when we are angry? I know of no instance where such would be the case” (“School Thy Feelings, O My Brother,” General Conference, October 2009).

Today, I will remember that anger is inconsistent with the Spirit of the Lord. I will strive to follow the Savior’s admonition to avoid hurtful feelings just as I would avoid hurtful words or actions.

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