Murder Begins in the Heart

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 BUT I SAY to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says,  ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.

Matthew 5:21-26

Here we have the first of six “But I say,” declarations. Jesus laid out the blessings of Kingdom living in the Beatitudes, clarified His purpose concerning the Law, and now He is bringing full interpretation to how the Law is to be lived from the heart. The Law stressed, Do not kill. (Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 5:17) The physical act of killing was prohibited and judged. But Jesus emphasized something more–the place where anger is born — the heart.

Later, in Matthew 15:18-19, Jesus said,  But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.

Let’s look at this word angry.  It is Strong’s # G3710orgizō  an explosive eruption of violence.  An action that comes about by something that has already happened. 

That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.

Secondly, we are talking about brothers—people related to us or people we know.   The anger and the action are premeditated.  It is NOT the sudden frustration directed toward the driver that cut you off in traffic.

What about righteous anger, you may ask?  Righteous anger is concerned with injustice done towards others and dishonor towards God.  Jesus displayed righteous anger when He drove the money changers out of the Temple.  “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” Luke 19:46

Unrighteous anger is concerned only with personal injustice—when people hurt or offend us.  Still, Jesus responded to personal injustice without anger. 

Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:“Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth,” who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;   1 Peter 2:21b-23

1 John 3:15 says, Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

And thirdly, note that He says, “whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause…

Anger without cause—someone may say something that upsets you. You may observe something that offends you. Someone may fail to speak to you. Unless we confront them about it and discover the reason for their words or actions, we can foster anger in our hearts for days, years. (Matthew 18:15-20)

We must bring our thoughts into the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).  We must shut down actions at the pass and take control of our thoughts and our words. The smallest negative word or action toward another leads us to more serious actions.  If we speak against someone long enough, we will act.

Raca: #G4469 – Empty headed, no brains, a fool, stupid

Fool: #G3474 – Morally worthless, a rebel against God.  Commonly used to denote idolaters or those guilty of great crimes. (Albert Barnes Commentary)

Proverbs 11:9 “Evil words destroy one’s friends; wise discernment rescues the godly.”

Proverbs 15: 1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but hard words stir up anger.”

Proverbs 29:11  A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 BUT I SAY to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny. Matthew 5:21-26

Here we have the first of six “But I say,” declarations. Jesus laid out the blessings of Kingdom living in the Beatitudes, clarified His purpose concerning the Law, and now He is bringing full interpretation to how the Law is to be lived from the heart. The Law stressed, Do not kill. (Exodus 20:13Deuteronomy 5:17) The physical act of killing was prohibited and judged. But Jesus emphasized something more–the source of the anger that leads to the physical act–the heart. 

Later, in Matthew 15:18-19, Jesus saidBut the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.

Let’s look at this word angry. It is Strong’s # G3710 – orgizō an explosive eruption of violence. An action that comes about by something that has already happened. 

That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.

Second, we are talking about brothers—people related to us or people we know. The anger here moves to premeditated action. It is NOT the sudden frustration directed toward the driver that cut you off in traffic. 

What about righteous anger, you may ask? Righteous anger deals with the injustice done towards others and dishonor towards God. Jesus displayed righteous anger when He drove the moneychangers out of the Temple. “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” Luke 19:46 

Unrighteous anger concerns only with personal injustice—when people hurt or offend us. Still, Jesus responded to personal injustice without anger. 

Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth,” who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 1 Peter 2:21b-23 

1 John 3:15 says, Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

And third, note that He says, “whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause…

Anger without cause—someone may say something that upsets you. You may observe something that offends you. Someone may fail to speak to you. Unless we confront them about it and discover the reason for their words or actions, we can foster anger in our hearts for days, years. (Matthew 18:15-20)

 It may be a faulty judgment on our part. But if we choose anger, it can drive a wedge between us in relationships. John indicates that such anger can lead to hatred which, in God’s eyes, is murder. 

We must bring our thoughts into the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). We must shut down actions at the pass and take control of our thoughts and our words. The smallest negative word or action toward another leads us to more serious actions. If we speak against someone long enough, we will act.

Raca: #G4469 – Empty headed, no brains, a fool, stupid

Fool: #G3474 – Morally worthless, a rebel against God. In Jesus’ time, the word fool denoted idolaters or those guilty of great crimes. (Albert Barnes Commentary)

The Bible is full of scripture about the power of our words.

Proverbs 11:9 “Evil words destroy one’s friends; wise discernment rescues the godly.”

Proverbs 15: 1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but hard words stir up anger.”

Proverbs 29:11 A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.

Next:

Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24

When someone else has something against us, we are responsible to and make amends. His displeasure with us keeps both of us from going before God in worship with clean hands. We are also responsible for forgiving others. 

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:25-26

Then Jesus offers this last bit of wise counsel. 

Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny. Matthew 5:25-26

I underlined the word ‘Assuredly’ because it means—Amen, Amen—what I am about to tell you is divine truth.

Our words pack power. We can create good or destroy. We have control over the words we choose. Here are some final scriptures in closing.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21  Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4:29

 There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes healthProverbs 12:18

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Matthew 12:36-37

Let’s heed the counsel of James. So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20

We are children of the King and in His kingdom, righteousness rules. Let’s ask God to help us. Lord, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. May my words speak life and bring healing instead of hurt. Thank You, Lord, Amen.

Shalom ♥

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