Day One Matthew 5:21-22
21 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ 22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.” – Matthew 5:21-22 (NLT)
Learn From the Word
After His thesis statement regarding the law in verses 17-20, Jesus now gives six examples in the rest of chapter five, to further explain His thesis using the words, “You have heard it said…but I say…” Jesus’ listeners relied on the scribes and Pharisees to read and interpret the Old Testament scriptures for them. Unfortunately, these teachers of the law only obeyed it for outward appearance rather than from a pure heart. From another mountain hundreds of years before, God gave the command through Moses to not murder. Jesus, the better Moses, shows us the God who has always pursued our hearts above our actions.
Put It Into Practice
In these two verses, Jesus speaks specifically about the anger we direct at fellow human beings. If we dig into the heart behind His command, we discover God’s will – that we would see all people as holding infinite value and worth because they are created in His image. Take a few minutes now to think about how your angry thoughts or words have possibly murdered someone’s character. Ask God what kind of action He wants you to take to pursue purity of heart in this area.
Some ideas: confess to God or the person with whom you’re angry, talk to a friend who can hold you accountable in your anger, decide to only speak someone else’s name in a spirit of honor or celebration.
For Families with Kids at Home
Anger is a natural emotion, but as parents and caregivers, it’s our job to teach our kids what to do when they experience that anger. Have a conversation with your kids about the last time they were angry. What made them angry and how did they react? Is there anything they would change about their reaction? Brainstorm some alternative strategies they could use to cope with that anger instead of letting it out in hurtful ways. Most of all, encourage them that God wants to hear from them, even when they feel angry!