Let’s begin this post with a simple prayer.
“Father, we come to you right now as nothing more than simple people with a narrow view. We turn to you now to guide our hearts, minds, and bodies to the plan that you have set forth for us. Thank you for all the blessings that you have graciously given to us, both seen and unseen. You are the creator yet has taken the time to get to know us on an intimate level. Thank you for the sacrifice of your son. It was that sacrifice alone that gave us the chance to be with you in eternity. Be with us now and always as we continue to live up to your desires for our lives.”
When I began writing this post it seemed pretty straight forward. I mean, what could I possibly say that hasn’t been already said about murder. I then did what I have been told a million times to do and turned to God. First in prayer, then in study. I began to read what he wrote about murder. The focus of this series is on, in my humble opinion, the greatest sermon ever given. Jesus eloquently spoke on so many topics so quickly it is easy to miss some of the information he gave us. The passage I am focusing on in this post is murder. I ask right now that you take a moment to read Matthew 5:21-26. I must have read this passage 100 times in the last few weeks, but I still had no idea what God wanted me to say about it. Then a thought went through my head, origin. I then began to see something I had not seen before. A cause and effect loop.
The first thing that I noticed was in the first two sentences was the essentially the same phrase but with one main difference. “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgement.” The word commit was added to the second sentence. I began to think about the difference between the two. When the “commit” was added it placed a specific type of action. I believe this was Christ trying to work beyond just the words themselves. As he said in Matthew 5:17 “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.” Other translations have used the word “fulfill”. I believe he means there are two separate sins that are committed, the act of murder but also thinking about murder. My belief was later confirmed when I read the next verse. “But I say to you if you even angry with someone, you are subject to judgement!” It reveals that there is a deeper issue concerning sin and that it starts with our hearts.
See, it’s very important to remember that sins run much deeper than just our actions. I really believe God was teaching me a lesson this week, and He was hoping that I could pass on that lesson. This was an extremely taxing week for me at work. I have a hard situation at my job and it seems as though everyone around me found the magic buttons to incite my anger. I came very close to snapping. I kept praying and hoping God would remove the anger, but He never did. I realized something, the anger I felt wasn’t the problem. Emotion is just a reaction to conditioning. I was bullied very hard as a young child, so now whenever someone even comes close to that my brain naturally turned to anger to protect myself. It wasn’t until very late one night I decided to forgive my childhood bullies. Not letting go of those memories, caused my sin of anger this week. It’s not just our current situation but also the past can haunt us.
At the end of the passage Christ mentions sacrifice. He said, “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” To the Hebrews, offering their sacrifice was the most important practice of their faith. To just leave them was unthinkable. I sat and thought about that for a while and then it dawned on me, you can’t reconcile with God until you reconcile with yourself. You must seek out forgiveness for your sins against others. Unfortunately whether or not the person you offended will forgive you is out of your hands. When you seek out the forgiveness of others, you can then go to God. Once I forgave the bullies in my life, I was able to seek forgiveness of the people I was rude to. Then I truly feel like I was able to give my sins to God.
After this week I realized that, what caused our sin isn’t always a surface level. Take time this week to remember that. Try to always think about the sins we are struggling with. Until you completely deal with the underlying issues you will always be putting a band-aid on a broken leg. The broken leg can never heal that way. Be blessed and remember I am praying for you all.