Matthew 5.21-22 cont.
21 You have heard that it was said to people living a long while ago: “You shall not murder”; and anyone who should murder will be liable to judgement.
22 But I say to you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgement, and again anyone who calls his brother stupid will be liable to the council, and whoever calls his brother a fool is liable to face the fire of gehenna (hell).
Having briefly considered the different considerations for the punishment for murder, it is important for us to understand that for a number of centuries Christians have been guilty of murder in one form or another. The years of the Inquisition (Spanish and others) resulted in the Roman Catholic Church murdering those who held different teachings to the Roman Church. This also included Jews and Muslims, who were slaughtered. No account was taken of gender or age.
In the Uk the reign of Queen Mary (1516-1558 (Queen 1553-1558)) was notorious for the murder of many Protestant believers, most of whom were burnt alive at the stake. During her short reign 284 people were martyred, men and women.
Many would say that Christian countries that have colonised the globe did so by killing the native population. Many wars have been fought between so called Christian countries, with many people, especially civilians being murdered.
In whatever form it happens murder remains a monstrous crime, which carries with it a judgement.
Jesus went on to say much more about murder and its roots.
It is that getting angry with a brother is liable to the same judgement, calling someone stupid is liable to the judgement of the council, and calling a brother a fool makes one liable to face the fire of hell.
Such expressions are common to our society. “I’ll murder you” is an expression that some use when they are angry. We know that most do not mean it, and would never carry it out. Yet it is said out of anger, which Jesus says brings the person to be liable to judgement. (Other translations render ‘liable’ as ‘subject to’.)
It is a dangerous thing to get angry with someone, because it is the first step on the road to taking someone’s life.
Perhaps none of us can say that we have not got angry, and there are many situations where our anger may rise up and a ‘red mist’ appears over our eyes.
It is at these times especially that we must take our thoughts captive to Jesus, and also to put into practice the following words:
- Also in being provoked (angry) do not get into sin and do not let the sun go down on your exasperation,
- Nor give the Devil any room to get at you – Ephesians 4.26-27.