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(MATTHEW 5:21-48)

a) Forbidding Murder Aims at Reconciliation
(Matthew 5:21-26)
21You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.22But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, Raca! Shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, you fool! Shall be in danger of hell fire.23Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,24leave your gift there before the altar and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.25Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.26Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny. (Exodus20:13;21:12; Mark11:25; Matthew18:23-35; Luke12:58-59;1John3:15)

Christ, by His authority, proved the Law of Moses. He put us in His shining light, uncovering the hidden intents of our hearts. He did not stress on legal interpretations of the constitution of the kingdom of God, and did not describe the principles of the creed of faith, but He made His divine love the true measure of our daily life. Holy love is the fulfillment of the law and the fundamental piety of the kingdom of heaven.
A killer deserves judgment and severe punishment in our world. He will also experience God’s wrath in the final judgment and live restless forever, unless he repents and is justified by Christ.
Christ tells us that rash anger is like murder popping up from the heart, which breaks the sixth commandment. Anger is a natural passion and can sometimes be lawful and laudable, but it is sinful, when we are angry without an essential cause. When, for example, we are angry with children or servants for mistakes or forgetfulness that we ourselves might easily have been guilty of, it is “without cause.” When anger exceeds due bounds, when we are hardy and headstrong in our anger, violent and vehement, outrageous and mischievous, and when we seek the hurt of those we are displeased with, it is “without cause.” This is a breach of the sixth commandment, for he that is this angry would kill if he knew he would suffer no consequences. Cain’s killing of his brother began with anger. He is a murderer in the reckoning of God, who knows our heart, out of which murder comes (Matthew 15:19).
Speaking in abusive language to our brother is tongue-murder. When God examines your heart, what will He find in it? Love or hate? When such language is given with mildness and for a good end, to convince others of their vanity and folly, it is not sinful. Even James says, “O foolish man” (James 2:20); and Paul, “Foolish one” (1 Corinthians 15:36); and Christ himself, “O foolish ones and slow of heart” (Luke 24:25). But when it proceeds from anger and malice within, it is the smoke of that fire which is kindled from hell and falls under the character of murder.
“Raca” was a scornful word and came from pride. It says, “You empty-headed fellow,” looking upon one’s brother, not only as mean and not to be honored, but as vile and not to be loved. Malicious censures are “poison under the tongue,” that kills secretly and slowly. Bitter words are as arrows that would suddenly wound (Psalm 64:3), or as a sword in the bones.
How many times did you dishonor a man calling him an animal? Be sure that in such a case you deserve the flame of hell for every word like this. God is love, and he who does not love like Him contradicts His law. All the intents that are not based on His love will fall down for they are woven with selfishness. Everyone who does not love is a killer in his heart, who shall receive the wages of a killer. Do not think that these words are philosophy and fantasies; they are an explanation of the divine constitution from the pious judge Himself. Did you recognize that you are a killer in the eyes of the Lord, and a heart of a killer is beating within you?
We ought to train ourselves in Christian love and carefully preserve peace with our brethren. If at any time a breach happens, we should labor for a reconciliation, by confessing our fault, humbling ourselves to our brothers, begging their forgiveness and making restitution, or offering satisfaction for wrong done in word or deed, as appropriate. We should repent quickly for two reasons:
Until we have faithfully tried to reconcile, we are utterly stressing our communion with God in holy ordinances.
We will not be acceptable to God, if we remain in anger, envy, malice and spite and behave without love. These sins are displeasing God, since nothing pleases Him which comes from a heart wherein hatred and enmity remain dominant. Prayers made in anger are offered mostly in vain (Isaiah 1:15; 58:4).
Do you love your enemy? If you say yes, prove it. Go to him and be reconciled to him. Do not say superficially, there is nothing wrong between us. Go to him, knock at his door and visit him. If you were wrong, even one percent in the matter with him, humble yourself and beg his forgiveness. You make the first contact, for this is the direction God’s love guides you. How can you pray to God when you live in bitter enmity with someone? Judgment will be more severe on believers with hatred in their hearts than on sinners who have never repented. Hypocrisy before God is filthier than the offense. Woe to you if you praise God and hate your brother! Ask God to forgive your pride and lead you actually to a complete reconciliation. God is love, and if you are filled with His love, He will make you a merciful, tolerant and humble child of His. If you do not respond to this purpose of God, you will fall prey to a hateful spirit – a killer since the beginning. Did you let God melt your stony heart? Go at once and be reconciled to your adversary as long as you both live.

O Holy Lord, who am I? Deep in my heart I am a rejecting, hateful killer. Please forgive my malice. Purify my heart and make it clean with the blood of Your only Son who loved us to death though we were His enemies. We pray that you will renew our hearts with the power of Your Holy Spirit that we may be filled with love and determination to be reconciled to our adversaries in wisdom and live with them in peace.
Who is a killer according to the Law of Christ?