Monday, March 28, 2011

Sermon on the Mount 4: Little Murders

Scripture: Matthew 5:21-26

Focus: Murder

Reflection: Murder is a pretty big deal. Once murdered, no one gets unmurdered. No amount of forgiveness or revenge brings back the dead. There is a finality to murder that cannot be denied or undone. This is why it was included in the 10 commandments. Apparently back in the days of Moses, someone in authority needed to say, “Do Not Murder.”

But murder does not seem to be the sin Jesus is getting at here. He is not denying that murder is a sin and a problem, but he is getting at the micro-murders people do to each other everyday and don’t even consider the damage it does. In essence, Jesus is saying that waiting until someone is dead is a little late to be coming to the awareness that something might be wrong. Murder is not the beginning of the sin in question, it is actually the end of it. It is the sin fully grown to its full maturity.

Where does murder start? How does it grow? What does it look like when it is just a seed? These are the questions that lead us to the place where Jesus wants us to go. This is actually the place the 10 commandments anticipated centuries before, but needed to take an initial step.

According to Jesus, murder begins with anger or unresolved antipathy. Unreconciled relationships seem to have little murders as a part of their everyday ebb and flow. Jesus wants this sin addressed. What he trying to do is to make us aware that the sin begins early and looks like this. He even makes a specific reference to something people were saying all the time. He called out their use of the term, “Raca,” which means, you fool. The modern use would be referring to someone as an “Jerk,” “Idiot,” or “A-hole.” Each direct affront, each mumbling under our breath, each thought of this kind that we suppress out some form of decency is still a little murder.

Jesus wants us to intervene on little murders before the grown up murder actually takes place. The antidote to violence is not a stronger police force or stricter laws. The antidote to violence is early detection in oneself. It is knowing what the little murder is and doing something about it at that time.

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