Jesus said that “all the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments”:
- Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
- Love your neighbor as yourself.
(Matthew 22:37-40; Mark 12:28-34)
We’re in the midst of reviewing 50 commands straight from the mouth of Jesus that show what it reeeeeally means to love God and others. Here’s today’s featured command:
You have heard that our ancestors were told, “You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.” 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.
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 there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.
When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.
(Matthew 5:21-26) (NLT)
Jesus knows where murder starts: in our hearts.
Hateful thoughts. Angry insults. How often have we murdered others in our minds? Crushed their spirits with our words? Destroyed reputations with our whispers?
Jesus wants us to take action now. If you’re in church about to put money in the offering plate and suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave immediately and go make it right. If you’re on your way to court, settle quickly before you get there.
John, one of Jesus’ closest friends, put it this way:
Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. (1 John 3:15)
Do what Jesus says: Don’t wait. Stop the hate. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with love right now.
(Image credit: Shutterstock.com / i Qoncept)