Tender HeartsHow can we avoid being spiritually stubborn and unresponsive to God?
Top Christian Music Videos
I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! (v.22).
At its best, anger alerts us to injustice. At its worst, anger becomes murderous in intent. Beyond wanting to see a wrong righted, we find ourselves wishing the destruction of a person—through the use of words if not a gun.
Many years ago, I experienced a dark and prolonged feud with a co-worker. “It troubles me to say this,” I confessed to a friend, “but sometimes I truly wish they were dead.” So tormented had I become that I dreamed of this colleague’s demise. My anger at having been wronged had become ugliness of the highest order.
To the religious leaders of Jesus’ day who followed the letter of the Ten Commandments only (Exodus 20:13), no sin was committed in such situations without actual murder. But Jesus saw beyond murderous acts to their root. Intense anger was the real sin (Matthew 5:22). And murder was only one way this sin could destroy someone.
Raca was an Aramaic word used to insult someone’s intelligence. A modern equivalent might be to call someone a “dipstick” or an “idiot.” Mōre,the Greek word for “fool,” is an exclamation of hatred and is an insult aimed at destroying/blasting someone’s character. It would be like using vulgar terms to call someone worthless or good for nothing. Can you see how murderous these words are? Such contempt dehumanizes a person, declares them worthless, and seeks their destruction. Jesus warned that such words would incur the severest of divine judgment (v.22).
All humans—even our enemies—are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). They’re to be valued. Anger may at times be a natural reaction to others’ wrongdoing, but love is to be our defining characteristic (Matthew 5:44Matthew 5:44). I, for one, need the supernatural love of the Holy Spirit to love those I would otherwise sin against (Romans 5:5). How about you?
Jesus gives two illustrations of how to live out this teaching in Matthew 5:23. Notice how both move to managing others’ anger toward us.
How can Jesus and the Holy Spirit help you to deal with people you might wish were dead? Why is it so abhorrent to God if we ridicule or swear at people?
- Tender Hearts - How can we avoid being spiritually stubborn and unresponsive to God?...read more
- The Ultimate Source - God’s goodness and faithfulness can lead us to respond in varying ways....read more
- Love in Action - How can you show Christ’s love to someone in need with both your words and your actions?...read more
- Generous Hearts - Have you ever been the recipient of someone else’s generosity?...read more
- Persecuted but Growing - Have you ever seen God use something negative or discouraging to accomplish something amazing?...read more
- Autumn Moments - What season of life are you in right now?...read more
- Where Love Flourishes - How does the love of a man and woman united in Christ reflect the love God has for us?...read more
- You're Needed - How are you serving the body of Christ?...read more
- Not Coming Back - How does Jesus’ sacrificial example inspire you today?...read more
- Everything Matters - In God’s vision for the world, everything matters....read more
- Valid! - Our value comes from God in whose image we all have been created....read more
- Cupcake Face - Do you have a sin in your life you’ve been trying to hide from God?...read more
- Four Views - Have you ever wished that the Bible was written differently or in a way that was easier for you to understand?...read more
- Perfect Peace - Are you living out God’s “perfect peace”?...read more
- Cherished Possessions - Do you share the same love, empathy, and care for sinners?...read more
- Is This Heaven? - What do you think about heaven and earth?...read more