Scripture— Matthew 5:21-26
“But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Matthew 5:22)
We have a natural tendency to hate or ignore God and our neighbor. We tell ourselves we are good people. But our selfishness and anger lie just below the surface. Anger often erupts in violent, hateful words and actions. If we don’t seem angry, it may just mean that our anger has not yet reached its boiling point or has not had an opportunity to erupt. In fact, we may be seething with inner anger.
Strictly following the command “Thou shalt not kill” is not enough to overcome hatred. We must address the source of that sin. If we keep our anger from boiling over, we do well. But to gain mastery over anger, we need love. And showing love, especially toward people who have hurt us, does not come naturally. In fact, only the supernatural Love of Christ can overcome the hatred we may feel for our enemies.
When the Romans and the Jews hatefully killed Jesus Christ, He could have called on God’s army of angels to stop and destroy them (see Matthew 26:52-53). But instead, He responded in love, asking the Father to forgive them. When Jesus gave Himself for us on the cross, He certainly obeyed the law— “Thou shalt not kill.”
But he did far more: he fulfilled the greatest law of love.
Prayer: O God, help us not to add to the anger in our world today. Help us not only to control our anger but also to overcome it with Your love. And thank You for showing us the way of love, through Jesus. Amen.