Jesus fulfills the law not by following every rule that has been listed but by fulfilling its intention, which is love. Fulfilling the law is not about focusing on external actions but about living out other-oriented love that flows from our inner being. This is why Jesus is referring to the attitude that one has about others here in this passage. It’s not enough to only refrain from murdering another person. Our inner poster toward others will define the way that we love others.
Therefore, we must take our inner world as seriously as we do our outer world. We must examine out attitudes toward others to assess how we view the worth of others so that we might cultivate an attitude of love that flows out in love action.
After Greg sets the stage by providing a recap of last week’s sermon on these verses, he invited a panel of three people, including Kevin, Osheta and Lambers to discuss this passage further. Some could take last week’s message, which was entitled “Farewell to Anger” as a call to sweep anger under a rug so that one does not have to deal with it. The panel addresses this danger and speaks to the healthy role that anger can play.
Instead of ignoring the emotions related to anger, we must recognize our feelings of anger as one might pay attention to the warning signs on a dashboard of a car and develop a sense of curiosity so that we can understand why we are feeling the way we do. Then this can lead us to respond appropriately to the situation so that the anger does not turn into attitudes and actions that are harmful to others.
You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.