Have you ever committed murder? At first, you may be offended at such a statement. You may think, “Of course, I have not killed anybody.” Yet, murder is not simply about the action. That is what Jesus is talking about when He says that your righteousness must exceed “that of the scribes and Pharisees” (Matthew 5:20). These religious people of the day were good at having a seemingly external righteousness but their hearts were another story. They would be sure to say they had not committed the act of murder but, as we will see, they were by no means innocent. Murder is not just about actions; it is also about attitude. The requirement of righteousness is heightened. Take a look at how Jesus puts it in Matthew 5:21-22, “‘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, murder is not merely the action. Murder is additionally being angry with someone for unjust reasons and insulting someone because of your own sinful heart. Murder is not simply an external reality but an internal struggle. At some point in each of our lives, we have sinfully insulted somebody and have expressed our anger in an unrighteous way. What we need to do is admit of our sinning there and repent of it, turning from the heart of murder. When we turn from that, we turn to Christ. We turn to the only One who can save us and reconcile us to God. As we understand that, we realize the anger in our relationships and the insults we hurl at one another need to be stopped and reconciliation needs to take place (verses 23-24). If we have been reconciled to God (vertically), then we must extend reconciliation to one another (horizontally). If we don’t do the latter, we will face the consequences (verses 25-26). Guilty will we be if we murder, not only in actions, but in attitudes. The heart of murder is anger. Check your heart today: where there is anger residing against another person, go to them and reconcile. Confess your sin to God and seek to make things right.
2 thoughts on “The Heart of Murder (Matthew 5:21-26)”
Nailed the “vertical change” demanding “horizontal change,” brother. Well done.
Thanks, bro! It is great to see your heart to reach those who need this “vertical change”. Continue to be faithful!