Journal Entry // April 5, 2023
You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’Matthew 5:21-22
 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. (ESV)
Jesus has now confirmed that the Law and the Prophets are not being done away with, but still have a vital and important role in the life of his followers in the kingdom of God. Having established its importance and continuing influence in our lives, Jesus now begins to expound upon the spiritual intent of the commandments beginning with the prohibition of murder. When we think of the sixth commandment, we naturally and obviously think of the act of murder. Jesus wants us to not only consider the heinousness of physically murdering another person created in the image of God, but he wants us to go further in our righteousness and understand the dangerous and destructive steps that lead one to murder.
Anger, insults, and attacking someones character are the beginning steps of the pathway to murder. I must begin with anger though. Anger is the key cornerstone that begins this downward spiral of destructiveness. For I can harbor anger deep within my heart and the person it is directed towards may never know. I may never really know the depth of my anger to be sure. When I let anger settle in and take up residence in my heart, I am inviting a cancer to have free reign. I am inviting destruction into my heart.
When I am harboring anger in my heart and allow it to go unchecked, it will lead me down this path outlined by Jesus. I will insult this person on a regular basis. It may or not be out loud of course, but it will always be within my heart and mind. Those insults cannot help but come out in the form of sarcasm or gossip with others. As I become more comfortable with this, I will then attack their character (calling them a fool). My seething anger will bring insults, and character assasination. I may never actually take the step of actually murdering this person physically, but I spiritually murder them every day in my heart by these actions.
Anger and hatred are so destructive to my heart. It is easy to fall into my own self-righteousness and let my anger be justified in a myriad of ways. Jesus here cuts to the point and calls out the fallicy of this thinking. Unrighteous anger is murder. Murder deep in my own heart. A destructive mindest that kills any relationship I may have with the person and eats away at my own heart. Deep set anger will bring bitterness and bitterness will encompass every part of my thinking. Anger and bitterness cannot be contained within the confines of my mind. They will surely infect my heart, mind, soul, and actions.
This is the danger of anger. It will even infect my relationship with Christ. I must examine my heart regularly for any trace or hint of anger and bitterness. I must repent and seek forgiveness from Christ first and the person second. I must be ruthless in dealing with anger. The solution is love. Love for Christ and the filling of the Holy Spirit within my heart. Then I can draw upon His strength to bring the kindness and mercy and grace of Jesus to every person I encounter. Even those that are difficult and disagreeable.