The 6th commandment is usually the one that makes most people (thankfully) go, “Aha! Here is one I haven’t broken.” Not so fast. 😉
It simply says, “You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13)
This one leaves us pretty smug until we read Jesus’ interpretation of it.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:21-24)
What Jesus explains for both the sixth and seventh commandments is that the sin is not simply the outward manifestation (in this case murder), but the inward motivation (in this case anger). We always sin in our hearts before in sin in our actions.
There are lots of Scriptures that point to the destructiveness of anger: Proverbs. 20:2; 22:3; 29:22; 2 Corinthians 12:20; Galatians 5:20; Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8; James 1:20. The Bible makes it clear that it is possible to be angry and not sin, but that sinful anger can give Satan an opportunity in our lives. (Ephesians 4:26-27) More often than not, as the above verses indicate, anger is very destructive and harmful.
Ultimately, there is only one way to beat sin and it is in the blood of Christ shed to pay the penalty for our sin and free us forever from its power.