“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good for nothing!’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into fiery hell.” – Matthew 5:21-22
If you think about the Ten Commandments, Jesus makes us realize the standard is even tougher than we thought. For instance, most of us are pretty comfortable that we are obeying the commandment, “Thou shall not murder,” but then Jesus sets our world on end with his perspective on the verse. Not only is the actual act a violation of the commandment, but Jesus says our angry thoughts are just as sinful.
Wow. That’s a little tougher than the first reading of the Ten Commandments. Jesus says that God weighs whether our hearts and thoughts are in line. Because if we lose our cool with our fellow man, we have broken this commandment on murder! Now that seems unfair, doesn’t it? But Jesus is very clear. God doesn’t just judge us by our actions. He also judges us by our thoughts and hearts’ desires. Is that a tough standard to follow? You bet. Yet we are fortunate that God sent His only Son to pay for the many sins we are bound to commit in our day-to-day lives! But not only does He forgive us when we trust Christ, He gives us the “inner want-to” to have our hearts as pleasing to God as our actions.
Christ’s standard is the toughest. Yet, in Him is the victory. That’s mighty Good News!