Anger or Hate?
Exodus 20:13 “You shall not murder.”
We continue on our journey through the Commandments. Today we look at the spirit of the law about murder.
Early translations of the Bible used the word ‘kill’ for this command but that made for a confusing translation when you consider that God sent His people into battle on many occasions and that David, a man of war, was called the man after God’s own heart. Murder is a better translation as it shows an intent behind the taking of life. What this commandment is talking about is the hate that drives one to kill another human.
Jesus explains in our passage for today that even the words that come out of our mouth can reveal the hate that is in our heart and that it is the same as killing a person with a weapon. Children are told not to say the word stupid and that is really what Jesus is teaching here. He said that the word Raca, which translated as empty headed, was a serious offense.
Anger is not looked light upon nor should it be. It isn’t that anger is bad in and of itself but it is what it could lead to if left unchecked that is the problem. Paul told the people of Ephesus to not sin by letting anger control them and added that letting anger have its way would give the enemy an in (Ephesians 4:26-27). Jesus showed anger in the Temple regarding the money changers and so we know that anger isn’t the sin, but rather the not being able to control it. It also matters what we get upset about.
It is so easy to get mad about the things that inconvenience us or if we are injured emotionally but that isn’t the kind of anger that Jesus and this commandment were talking about. The anger that builds to great hate is an anger that is filled with non-forgiveness. When we don’t see the great forgiveness that God has extended to us, we can find ourselves more easily falling into the trap of hate. When we aren’t focused on God in worship we can slip into the trap of anger and find ourselves giving Satan a foothold in our lives. If God isn’t in first place in our lives, someone or something else is. The kind of anger in our lives and the way it shows tells the truth of who we worship.
Making It Personal
Do you have examples from your life where anger got the best of you? Have you ever thought about evaluating to see if your anger is hate based and therefore murder according to Jesus? What keeps anger from becoming a sin?
Making It Personal Kids
What makes you mad? Why does it make you mad? Could it be that you get mad because you aren’t getting your own way? Does that make you selfish?
Father, please help us see all You have forgiven us for because unless we understand that, we can’t have forgiveness in our heart towards others. Please guide us in the way of worship and keep us from feeding hate in our lives. In Jesus’ name, amen.