Sermon On The Mount (Part 9)
Murder Begins In The Heart
You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.' But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.
And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council.
But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire.
Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.
Matthew 5:21-26 (NKJV)*
The sixth of God's Ten Commandments is 'You shall not murder' (Exodus 20:13). But the Sermon on the Mount digs deeper. In It, Jesus exposes the root of this sin. He reveals pride, anger and hatred at its core. Like poison gas, they are first released by the mouth.
'A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks' (Luke 6:45).
So here's the thing: you can murder someone quickly, or you can murder someone slowly: 'All rash anger is heart murder... Raca is a scornful word and comes from pride: Thou fool is a spiteful word and comes from hatred. Malicious slanders and censures are poison that kills secretly and slowly. Christ told them that how light soever they made of these sins, they would certainly be called into judgment for them' (Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary).
Actors, models and talent for Christ: When you expressed your calling to enter the mission field of entertainment, did anyone say you were foolish? Beware dream haters. Dream hating is forbidden by God, because the dreams being hated may be His Own dreams--given to you as precious gifts.
If they are not from God, they will come to nothing of their own accord. 'For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God' (Acts 5:38-39).
On the other hand, if you have harbored or expressed hateful intentions or words against anyone else, repent and be reconciled. Ask forgiveness from God and man. Then you will be in right relationship with them both.
To Be Continued...
* Paragraph separation added for emphasis.
Additional Bible Commentary on Matthew 5:22: http://biblecommenter.com/matthew/5-22.htm
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Sermon On The Mount series.