So angry: Do you know Jesus taught that anger is like committing murder in your heart? *Photo supplied
So angry: Do you know Jesus taught that anger is like committing murder in your heart? *Photo supplied
As we progress through Jesus’ teachings in the Sermon on the Mount we have been learning some powerful truths from the Master.

A few weeks ago we learned the importance of receiving the righteousness of Jesus Christ by faith.

Although we can do as many good works as we want, they will never be powerful enough to make us good enough or right enough before God. 

That perfect righteousness is only found in a real relationship with Jesus Christ, one in which Jesus gives us His righteousness when we accept Him as our personal Saviour. 

Jesus uses these mountainside teachings to publicly correct the erroneous teaching and interpretation of the law by the Pharisees and Sadducees, the men who were responsible for the Biblical instruction of the Jews. 

Despite their outward actions, the Pharisees and Sadducees were far from a real relationship with God. 

This should remind us all that just because we know the Word of God in our head, it does not mean that it is truly impacting our hearts. 

Let’s look at the surprising teaching Jesus gives the crowd in Matthew 5:21-22: You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment….

The teachers of the law interpreted murder as the literal act of killing another person.

Although that is true, Jesus brings out the heart of the law and teaches about a deeper meaning, motivation. 

Jesus says in these verses that although many pride themselves that they have not committed murder, they are still subject to judgment if they hate or are angry with their brother! 

Can you imagine the gasps of surprise in the crowd? With this teaching, Jesus raises the bar on the interpretation of the law to expose the heart.

He challenges those who pride themselves saying, “I’ve never committed murder!” to be humble enough to admit that they can allow anger to fester, which is also sin.

Jesus destroys bad attitudes we can have against others and points us toward a life and relationships with much more substance! 

He encourages us to show forgiveness and reconcile with those whom we have wronged and those who have wronged us. 

In fact, Jesus continues this theme in verses 23 and 24: Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

We know that the Bible teaches us to promote unity by reconciling with our brother or sister if we feel we have been wronged by them (Matthew 18), but this passage goes even deeper.

It states that we should also go to others whom we know are upset with us, no matter what the reason or if it is justified or not! 

After hearing these words we cannot say, “Well, if they have something against me… then that’s their problem!”

Jesus teaches we should promote the love of God by going to others whom we know have an attitude with us and re-establishing peace! 

Let’s not miss the power of the Scripture. The message God is bringing goes somewhat like this… ‘I would rather you hold off giving me your gift or your worship, and go to make it right with your brother first, and then come to worship me!’ 

That’s how important unity and love is to our Lord.

And because it is that important to Him, we can readily assume that our worship will be totally hindered whenever we do not approach those who we know have something against us.

It may — and probably will — require courage and a swallowing of pride as you contemplate confronting your brother and dredging up how you may have offended your brother or sister and how they may have offended you. 

And from personal experience I know that it can be uncomfortable and maybe even intimidating to confront someone; but ask God for His boldness and grace to make things right.

It is the right thing to do to promote unity and regain reconciliation… we are only as strong as our weakest link when it comes to unity.

I pray that you will make this year different from the rest by doing all you can to encourage unity and love in the body of Christ.  Bermuda depends on it!