Road Rage

Matthew 5:20-26
Eze 18:21-28 / Psa 130

If you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift.
(Matthew 5:23-24)

Lord, I bring my case to Your altar,
Pray, how does one love his enemy?
Despite his faults, love him no matter,
Forgiveness is the best remedy.

“For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Concerning Anger 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 fiery Gehenna. So, when you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.” (Matthew 5: 20-26)

Reflection

Only in extreme cases, such as in the defilement of the temple by money-changers, did Jesus justify a moment of anger to rectify a wrong. He said, “Whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.” (Mt.5:22) Uttering words of insult, such as ‘imbecile’ or ‘fool’ against another will also make one liable for judgment, because insulting words always arouse anger. As our Lord reminds us, “Whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.” It is a wise and prudent man who can hold his tongue and temper when he is unfairly provoked.

The rage of anger, if not controlled, may lead to a killing — if not of the body, then of the soul. Anger is the root of murder. Only a few people can commit murder, but practically anyone can lose his temper. Anger can explode into road rage, which is one of the most common causes of deaths or injuries today. I remember one fine day on my way to the office when I spotted a vehicle with the distinctive sticker of our brotherhood on its rear window. It appeared to be involved in an accident with a passenger jeepney, so I stopped my car behind the two vehicles and went down to investigate. As I approached the driver’s side of the jeepney, I was momentarily stunned to see a brother of our community about to deliver a punching blow to the face of the PUJ driver, whose collar he was clutching with his left hand. Seeing me approaching, this brother was suddenly brought back to his senses, released his intended victim, and without a word, took off in his car. He was probably too embarrassed to stick around for explanations. But a short time later, he called to say, “Thank you for being there in the nick of time.” He said he lost his temper because the jeepney driver had cut him off on the road, and even provoked him for a fight. I advised him to be more forgiving in dealing with drivers of public utility vehicles, because they usually have weapons for self-defense, and the consequence of losing his temper over a trivial matter could have been fatal.

That experience taught me that even if we have been in the renewal for a long period of time, we are never ‘immune’ from the danger of anger. We must learn to control our temper by focusing on how Jesus would react in such situations. It is only by His example that we can attain the precious virtue of temperance.

Grant us your gift of temperance, Lord, that we may always be far from strife; lead us in the paths of forgiveness and peace, that we may truly become Your children. Amen.

Comments are closed.