You might have heard talk like this … “I have never been angry in my life.” Ouch! The cutest baby becomes angry at times. Have you seen a baby throw a temper tantrum and throw the bottle or toys out of the cot? Never been angry in my life? I have seen pictures of a couple in the newspaper … celebrating 60 years of marriage and never had an argument. Maybe as we reach our 80’s its possible our memory fails us! We have all been and at times do become angry! As you are aware, there is righteous anger and sinful anger. Mostly our anger is sinful. Righteous anger is when we see God’s Moral Code being broken. Take this example … He is 69 years old and with his 63 year old wife started a crèche in Melkbosstrand outside of Cape Town in 1992. Today he is a suspected pedophile and had been dubbed “the Melkbos Monster”. Part of the allegations against him is the abduction and rape of toddlers as young as two years old. As horrible, evil and wicked this is, it happens. You can take this illustration and work through the Moral Code (Ten Commandments) and see if you can find how many of the Commandments have been broken if this man is guilty of pedophilia. This type of sin angers believers and such anger will be known as Righteous Anger. Yet … mostly our anger is sinful because we are hurt, have lost or have had something stolen, have been sinned against … or something like that. Permit me to tell you another story. He testified that when hearing a sermon on Matthew 5:21 to 26 he realized that he needed to make right the wrong between him and his brother or else he would be … in danger of the fire of hell. Others have lost the plot as they permitted their anger to control and dominate their mind, emotion, heart and will, resulting in devastating results. Well, let’s explore this passage together.
Mt 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But 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 has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; 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 with him on the way, or he 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 I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”
1) The Lord Jesus knew that the people knew the Moral Code well. Moses instructed the people to teach their children God’s Law.
Dt 6:1 These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you.
How could any of them know what the Moral Code is if they were not taught? God wanted them to know His requirements and parents were faithful in teaching their children God’s Laws. Jesus knew they knew this when He said … “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago”. The greatest weakness in Christian families today is that the father in particular does not educate his children in the Word of God. Is this the reason we have such a fall out … children going to Sunday School and that is all the spiritual input they get and as soon as high school comes along the children drift away? Blame often falls to the Church where it ought to fall to the parents.
2) The Moral Code, given by God through Moses, intended that the people enjoy God and enjoy life through living in the security of the Moral Code. I often wonder how much parents, especially fathers love their children. That might sound very judgmental, but if they are not teaching their children God’s Word and explaining the Gospel to lead their children to Jesus and eternal salvation … their children will not live in the security of the Gospel, nor will they go to heaven! O father, love your children enough to teach them the gospel and backing that teaching up with example and prayer that God will save their souls.
3) The Moral Code’s most important intention was that families love God.
Dt 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Read through these verses and see that unless you love and appreciate God’s Moral Code you will never love God the way He intends you to love Him.
(1) Verse 5 explains the shape of true love for God. This is love based upon knowledge. The more you know God the more you love God.
(2) Once there is true love for God, His commandments will be a pleasure to keep because they will be resident in our hearts! v6
(3) Parents who love God will impress God’s Commandments upon their children. The word impress really means to teach the children God’s Word so that they understand it and believe it and through that, love, obey and follow God correctly. v7
(4) Once the parents and children love God intelligently (v5), they can decorated their house with all sorts of reminders from the Bible, v8-9. The reason for these holds God’s Word … and especially the Moral Law before them to keep them living the required life.
Now we are ready to explore “anger” and “murder” in our passage and see what God wants educated, God fearing and God loving people to know about these things because the way we relate to them affects our emotions and could be devastating. Father, teach us to love you dearly, deeply and passionately.
Give to us a hunger for Your Word so that we greedily use it to shape our love for You through Jesus our Lord. Amen