Matthew 5:21-26 On The Path To Murder

21 ‘You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, “You shall not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.” 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister[b][c] will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, “Raca,”[d] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, “You fool!” will be in danger of the fire of hell.

23 ‘Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

25 ‘Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

On The Path To Murder

I see how it starts, Jesus.  I want something and I think that I should have it.  I think that something is a right.  I fear that I am not important to someone.  I think that maybe I am stupid.  I make a subconscious connection to a painful memory or pattern.  I break off my relational ability.  I go into a task-oriented mode and others become mere resources to accomplish my goals.  Even worse, they become obstacles.  Everyone, including myself, ceases to be relational human beings.  We cease to be interdependent, healthy people created in the image of God.  I wish I was free of people.  I wish I didn’t have to manipulate them.

If entertained, this mode becomes more foul.  I can judge peopl.  Condemn people.  Put people in categories and choose who is owrthy of my time and who is not.

The ultimate step is the one of murder.  However, we have all walked the line of devaluing others, wishing them further, sometimes wishing they didn’t exist.  Such an attitude is not worthy of your kingdom, Jesus.

Help me to see others as people.  Help me to relate.  Help me to seek to affirm them, value them, and be a safe place for them.  Help me to help them find you.  Help me not to be another reason why the world is so disconnected.

Questions

  • What is the first step in the path to murder?
  • What would Jesus say to those who would say, “How much can I isolate myself from others?”
  • How would Jewish people, who had never murdered, have been amazed at Jesus?
  • How do you change your relationship with others when you feel embarrassed, threatened, shamed, or guilty?
  • What is the design of personal relationships with Jesus and others?
  • Why is “I don’t want or need people” a statement connected with murder?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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One Response to Matthew 5:21-26 On The Path To Murder

  1. Kelli says:

    –Calling someone “stupid.” As you say, devaluing them. Failing to see them through Christ’s eyes. Failing to value them as Christ values them. Viewing them through my own faulty perception. And assuming that my perception is reality. Failing to check my perception with Christ’s.
    –We cannot isolate ourselves from others. This goes all the way back to Genesis. It is not good for man to be alone. We are created for community. We are created to be in communion with one another and with God. We are created in the image of a triune God.
    –He was pronouncing judgement on their actions as well. And he didn’t just say it was a bad idea. They were in danger of the fire of hell.
    –The distinction that we have been talking about between being task-oriented vs. relationship-orientated is not altogether a new one to me. However, what is new is the idea that being task-orientated is wrong, even sinful. Because of this new thought, I have been more aware of when I shift into task-orientated living (which is way too often) and how it affects my relationships. I have a new distain for this approach to life. It is helping me to slow down my mind and be more present when, for example, I cuddle my daughter at bedtime. I want to completely enjoy that time of bonding and not be also thinking about the 10 things I have to get done afterwards.

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