Exodus 20:13 – “You must not murder”
Matthew 5:21-26, 43-48
21 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ 22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. 23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. 25 “When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny. 43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Last time we looked at intentional killing, there were probably many of us who felt fairly good because we have never murdered anyone. But it’s not just intentional killing that’s a problem, in Matthew 5Jesus reveals our hearts tendency toward:
- Inward Killing
It’s here that Jesus reveals the
- Reason for murder – Unchecked Anger
Jesus reveals the attitude behind the action, because our attitude doesn’t just influence our actions, they can infect them. What Jesus is saying is that we have to focus on the heart behind the hand. Today we have become so obsessed with the objects of murder that we are missing the motive behind the murder. We are so busy focusing on what’s in the hand that we are missing what’s in the heart. The Media wants you to believe that the problem is guns and if we banned them everything would be good, but Jesus reveals a greater problem, a heart problem. Just to see if Jesus is right, I am going to place a rock next to me as I write, this could have been the first murder weapon that Cain used to kill His brother Able. And I am going to hope it doesn’t kill me or anybody in my home while I write this blog. Now most of us would laugh at this, because we know that the rock isn’t going to kill anyone. If we would be rational for a moment and not just emotional, we could all admit that the problem behind the hand is hate. It’s not what’s in our hand that kills people it’s what’s in our heart. Because in order for this rock to kill it has to be connected to a hand and that hand is connected to the heart. Jesus reveals that the process that leads to killing is progressive. The first stage is the “RACA” stage – This is an emotional anger than explodes by calling someone “You idiot” which is the loose translation of this Aramaic word.This is the first stage of anger, it usually does not move toward a particular act, but is still serious enough that someone expressing this kind of anger is required to come before the Sanhedrin (5:22a).The point of coming before spiritual leaders at this stage is to make the person accountable and to deal with the anger before it spreads to other people and progresses to the next more dangerous level. Unresolved anger in our hearts not only affects us but it can infect others. Like all emotions, when we feel them strongly, those who are our friends will be touched by them also. Anger left unchecked at the “RACA” stage will move onto the “YOU FOOL” stage, a much more serious level of anger! Notice that this level of anger has already passed the accountability stage to men, and has moved to being accountable to God directly, “in danger of the fire of Hell.” This is the level of anger whose plan is to inflict pain and hurt others either emotionally or physically or both. This is a life that is consistent with Satan who came to kill steal and destroy. So, when we allow anger to go unchecked, we actually take on Satan’s characteristics, and thus put ourselves in line for the same punishment he will receive. While the Pharisees and teachers of the law were only concerned with the overt act of murder, Jesus tries to get them to learn to deal with the progressing issues of the heart that lead to murder. Instead of just focusing on punishment to prevent the problems we need to be proactive and teach our children how to deal with anger in their lives. We do this best by modeling the message not just mouthing it. How we deal with anger in our lives will have a major impact on them because more things are caught than taught. Anger is a protest and we need to ask ourselves two questions. First do I need to be protesting this? If we don’t, we will get caught up protesting the petty instead of the important. How much time and energy do we burn up being angry and protesting unimportant things? Second if we do need to protest, we need to ask ourselves is the way in which we are protesting constructive or destructive? Jesus was angry that the Temple had been turned from a house of prayer into a place to make a profit by exchanging money. So, He restored His Father’s house back to a place of pray. So how do we deal with anger? Make yourself accountable to others. When you experience the “RACA” stage, do you make yourself accountable to others for that anger, or do you simply ignore it? Second take personal responsibility for your anger and don’t blame your anger on others, by saying you make me so angry. If you had a skunk and squeezed it really hard it would release a scent. The same would be true if you substituted the skunk for a rose. The difference is that one would be fragrant the other foul. But here is the deal, you didn’t make the smell you just applied pressure and what was in there came out. The same is true for us when we blame our anger on others. The truth is what’s in our hearts when they get squeezed will be what comes out. The question we need to as ask is what’s coming out pleasant or poisonous? Third, place the priority on people not the problem. This short verse reveals that God is pro-life which means that as His followers we should love life. That means putting the highest priority on people. Our problem is that we place a higher value on our problems and possessions than we do people. James 4:1-3“What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.”Most of our strife is the result of living for self instead of serving the Savior. As a result, we become lust based instead of love based. We become consumers instead of caregivers, living to get instead of living to give. Where are you placing the priority, on possessions or people. Do you treasure stuff or souls? Murder always terminates relationship, and while many of us are not physically killing people we are ruining and killing our relationships by running into and over each other with anger.