Weaving together the threads that make up my passion for the written word…as an author, editor, and follower of The Word.
This passage is more than just a recap of one of the ten commandments. Jesus is clearly speaking to an audience that knows (and accepts) without question that murder is forbidden and subject to God’s judgment. “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder’…” The important distinction is in what he says after that, “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” He also speaks of reconciling with your brother before offering gifts at the altar, and settling matters with your adversary.
There are a couple of things that are key here. Going back to the previous post I made about choices, no one wakes up one day and decides to become a murderer. It happens slowly, one choice after another, down a long, slippery, and very dark slope. The action of murder starts with a brooding intent…with something that goes very wrong on the inside. When we hold onto anger, when we are in conflict with each other without the willingness to reconcile and forgive, it destroys us from the inside out and can lead to actions that harm ourselves and others in very real ways. Jesus is tracing the sin of murder to its source…the human heart…and asking us to honestly examine ours. What is at the center of our being? Are there dark shadows lurking there that we haven’t confronted, or that we just can’t seem to let go of? We need to bring them to Jesus so that he can help us reconcile and get our hearts turned in the right direction.
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