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Commentary » Matthew 5:21-Matthew 5:26 » Family-Times.net
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To Murder in the Mind

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Over twenty-five thousand murders are committed in the United States every year which is an average of nearly seventy a day. This does not include suicides (self murder) and abortions (pre-birth murder) which added to the above is staggering. (Lou Nicholes - Missionary/Author). … More

Murder

In Genesis 9:6 the penalty for murder and the reason for its seriousness are given. The penalty for murder and the reason for such a severe punishment was that man is made in God’s image. The command “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13) does not prohibit every form of killing a human being but has to do with criminal killing. Many portions of Scripture make it clear that capital punishment, killings in war, accidental homicide and self-defense are excluded.

According to the Pharisees and the beliefs of most religions today, murder is strictly limited to the act of physically taking another person’s life. Jesus explains in this portion of Scripture how sin comes from the attitudes of the heart and that anger is murder in the heart (v.21-22).  Jesus did not say that anger leads to murder; He says that anger is murder. In I John 3:15 we find that in fact to hate someone is to commit murder in our hearts. It is true that there is a holy anger against sin (Eph. 4:26) but Jesus is talking here about an unholy anger against people.

Sinful anger must be faced honestly and confessed to God as sin. Then we must go to our brother and get the matter settled quickly (vv. 25-26). The command for reconciliation is given to the innocent as well as the guilty party. The Saviour went on to say if your adversary (an opponent at law) disagrees with you, it is to your advantage to reconcile with him before he delivers you to the judge. Many people make the foolish mistake of assuming that just because they think they are right in a given situation God will necessarily vindicate them. Jesus’ exhortation here is to urge us to go out of our way to avoid legal conflicts before human judges (v. 40). The payment of debt and the prison referred to here simply means the normal legal process that one would encounter in a civil suit. The term prison does not refer to purgatory, but to the full measure of punitive justice.

Application

I need to ask myself  what does anger do to me?  To others?  To whom, if anyone do I need to get some matters made right?

Matthew 5:21-26 (English Standard Version)

"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. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny."

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »

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