Despite everyone knowing that murder is wrong people today are still killing each in horrible and cruel ways. Some are quick to point out that the inner cities and poor drug infested areas have the highest murder rates, however, stories of violence can be found in every part of our nation. At the same time, the greatest act of murder, abortion, is legal in the U.S. and is actually considered a “women’s right” by many. However, Jesus didn’t only come to save and rebuke the murderer, He also came to change the person who has a hateful and angry heart. Today’s lesson will give much needed insight into Jesus’ teachings on murder and anger, along with some very practical applications to follow.
Matthew 5:21-26, “21 You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. 25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”
- Sermon on the Mount: The longest single portion of Jesus’ teaching found in Matthew 5-7 that serves as the foundation of Christian morality and spiritual practice. #KingdomBasics
- Disciples: Born again committed students and followers of Jesus Christ.
- Kingdom of Heaven/God: The active rule and reign of Jesus in one’s life and upon the earth with kingdom blessings. The kingdom is all about the King!
- MURDER: To wrongfully take someone else’s life. Thou shalt not murder was the 6th commandment because mankind is made in the image of God, Genesis 1:26-27.
- EXAMPLES OF MURDER: (1) Man beat his his wife to death with a tire iron after only being married for four days to collect her $1 million life insurance policy, source. (2) Man broke into his female neighbor’s house, strangled her while she slept, then dismembered her body with a hacksaw, source. (3) A 14 year old murdered her 11 year old sister by stabbing her 40 times, source. (4) A man decapitated his 7 year old handicap son and placed his head on the front lawn, source. (5) During Easter weekend in Chicago eight people were shot and killed in Chicago, and at least 44 others were wounded, source.
- MOST VIOLENT CITIES IN 2013: (1) Chicago-412, (2) New York-333, (3) Detriot-332, (4) Los Angeles-255, & (5) Philadelphia-246, source.
- U.S. STATS & RANKING: The U.S. averages between 12-14,000 murders per year. Surveys show the U.S. 2012 murder rate was 4.7 murders per 100,000 people — which was significantly higher than most other wealthy nations. The comparable rate is 0.4 in Japan, 0.8 in Germany, 1.0 in Australia, 1.1 in France, and 1.2 in Britain, source.
- ABORTION: Over 1 million babies are murdered each year with their mother’s permission by doctors in the U.S., source. Proverbs 6:16-17, “16… the Lord hates… 17 hands that shed innocent blood.”
- ANGER: To have feelings of hatred and wrath towards someone.
- GOOD & BAD ANGER: The anger Jesus is referring too as sinful is more like a hatred than just a disgust known as “holy anger.” Holy anger or righteous anger would be the feelings one would have after hearing about the abuse of children. The Bible shows that Jesus even was angry at times, however, he never had hatred in His heart towards others, Mark 3:5-6. Consequently, Paul gives a way to know the difference between righteous and unrighteous anger- the emotion of righteous anger should not result in sin (hatred, cursing, physical abuse, etc). Ephesians 4:26, “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”
- RACA & FOOL: Jesus warns that if we curse our brother or sister and call them “raca” (Aramiac for the English term, “idiot”) or “fool” we will be considered guilty of murder on judgment day. James 1:19-20, “19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
- RECONCILIATION: The act of restoring opposing people into friendship.
- FORGIVE & RESTORE: Jesus taught that we shouldn’t even try to worship God unless we have done all we can to be restored to those we have been angry with.
- BROTHER & SISTER: I believe the kind of relationships Jesus is referring to are those with whom we have relationships with, ex. family, friends, and neighbors. Matthew 18:21-22, “21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
APPLICATION FOR MURDER
- Do not murder. Pray for God to end the violence in our nation.
- Do not have or support abortions. Pray for God to free people from perversion and selfishness and to open their eyes to this great sin.
- Forgive your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
- Pray and support good government that protects the innocent and punishes the wicked.
APPLICATION FOR ANGER
- Try to overlook offenses. Before getting angry try to ask yourself, “Is this worth it?” Proverbs 19:11.
- If you do get angry control your emotions and behavior- don’t sin! Avoid cursing, hatred, and violence.
- Peaceably resolve your differences with the person you’re angry with by talking through your differences and seeking godly advice and wisdom (even have a mediator if needed).
- Humbly treat others the way you want to be treated. Forgive everyone (even if they don’t ask for it) and be reconciled with those who truly repent.
- Love at all times.
Though most of us would never actually murder someone, Jesus still teaches us to be careful of inner hatred that can damn our soul to the very fires of hell. Selfishness and pride are at the root of both anger and murder therefore, let everyone who desires to follow Jesus in humility choose reconciliation over hatred.