Murder: Matthew 5:21-26
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One Reply to “Murder”
The paragraph heading in the NIV 2011 (Zondervan) is “Murder” but the heading in the ESV is “Anger” since Jesus is clearly not discussing murder in this context. Rather, Jesus is using some hyperbole to get our attention. The heading, “Murder,” certainly does that! Another difference in the NIV is the translation of the Greek, adelphos, as “brother or sister.” It’s interesting how the term adelphos is rendered in different translation, but in the context, I think it’s appropriate to consider adelphos is referring to a member of the Christian community. Here we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard. As such, Jesus goes to some length to define that for us.
Jesus uses the definition of murder and compares it to those who are angry with their brother, “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment” (Matthew 5:22). Both the murderer and the angry brother will be subject to judgment. Jesus doesn’t explain murder to his followers, we understand murder, but we often struggle with those in our own church family. When we harbor ill-feelings, we distance ourselves over time and ultimately the church itself is undermined. If the church is the bride of Christ, this is an outrage! We must learn to reconcile our differences if the church is going to grow and become the place people flock to.
Anger within the community of believers will rip us apart, we cannot allow this. Settle matters quickly before they become significant events that result in splitting churches and give those who are far from Christ yet another reason not to seek the church for answers.
Lord, teach us to be the church you called us to be, the body of believers that loves each other so much that we don’t let differences divide; rather, we see the differences as strengths and work together to form bonds that cannot be broken.