Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
Jesus says: “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever, commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery garbage pit. Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. (Matthew 5:21)
Handle your conflicts to the best of your ability to avoid hurtful circumstances. I don’t think anyone would be against this teaching that a murderer ought to be sent to court for some accountability. Jesus takes the entire matter deeper. He is saying that murder is not committed simply on the social level between people (externally), but murder goes deeper into the heart (internally).
Jesus covers it all: 1st Degree Murder is anyone who is angry at another brother. 2nd Degree Murder is anyone who calls his brother “good-for-nothing”. 3rd Degree Murder is anyone who calls another a “fool”, this term has to do with contempt for a person’s heart and character. Jesus covers the entire spectrum of anger!
Therefore, if you are presenting your offering at the altar and remember that your brother has something against you; in other words, Jesus says that even the high act of worshipping God must not take precedence over your relationships with others. This is a powerful point! He will reiterate this dynamic later in this speech. You must understand that your relationships with one another are at the heart of God! Jesus sets forth the procedure to follow. Leave your offering there-stop your worship or attention toward the Lord.
Go to your brother-seek out this offended one. Be reconciled to him-as far as it depends upon you. You may not accomplish full reconciliation in return. Then come and present your offering-now you are ready to face the God of gods.
GET OVER IT! You may not have murdered someone in society (an outward act), but you are guilty of murder through one or more of the degrees of murder (an inward act). NOW ACT UPON IT. THE JESUS WAY! Embrace SECRET #19: The follower of Jesus knows his heart of hate is equal to murder. To Jesus everything originates in the heart, so guard your heart by wrapping it around Jesus and his teachings. You’ll never go wrong with that!