Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I am a murderer
I am a murderer. No, not according to the law of the land. I've never ended the physical life of another human being.
Yet, I am a certainly a murderer by the understanding of the law that Jesus lays out in Matthew 5:21-26 during the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus says that if I am angry with another human being, insult them, or demean them, then I am liable to judgement and hell.
It might sound severe. I mean, we want punishments to fit the crime, right?
Then again, haven't I actually committed murder in some sense? I mean, I've chipped away at the dignity and humanity of another. I've ripped into the soft tissue of the feelings of others. I'm sure there have been many times when I've left a dagger in the heart of another when acting out of anger, frustration, immaturity, ignorance, or revenge. I've wished they weren't around. I've killed relationships.
Sure, there is a legal difference. It is neither reasonable nor practical to prosecute anger. Our legal system is about degrees of offense and shades of gray -- and that makes sense. (Otherwise, we'd probably all be criminals and there wouldn't be anyone qualified to run the system left!)
As far as God is concerned, I'm not sure there are degrees difference. I mean, Jesus says that when I say to another "you fool", I am liable to the fires of hell. To God, I am just as much of a murderer as any serial killer who has ever lived.
Fortunately, that is not the important part of the story! We know that Jesus died under the weight of our sins. It doesn't matter what size we'd like to assign to them to make ourselves feel more worthy, all of our sins sit equally upon our Lord, tortured and suffocating on the cross. Our sins died with Christ, and no longer hold power over us. Now, we live in Christ!
Sure, I still live a less than perfect life. I still commit this murder of the heart more often than I'd like to admit. Every day, I am as much a sinner as I was the day before. The good news is that every day I am also just as forgiven because my sins are completely washed away in the blood of Christ each day!
Through Christ, even I, a murderer, am given abundant life! Now, we have the freedom to take part in God's healing of the world -- we can help restore slaughtered relationships! This is good news indeed!