Summary: What did Jesus mean when He said if we call someone a fool we would be in danger of the judgment? This sermon explores that question and many others.
The Detriment of a Grudge
Man, what a passage. This is a series of "you have heard", "but I tell you" statements that strike at the heart of Christianity. Remember in the last few weeks we have talked about how that Jesus knew the need to teach that the inner condition of the Heart was the most important? In this passage, He deals more with that. The law required certain things, The Pharisees added many things to the law so that it became a burden that no one could bear. Yet Jesus taught us here that the outward sin of life begins in the heart. He teaches us that merely keeping rules is not what God seeks from us. He seeks a relationship that will be a guide to us.
This morning we will only look at the first of Jesus’ teachings in the area.
A) The sixth commandment teaches us that it is wrong to murder.
--The Scribes and Pharisees had taught that if a person murdered someone "they were in danger of the judgment of God in some cases and in danger of the judgment of the Sanhedrin in others.
--A murder is committed every 24 minutes in the United States. Teen murders are skyrocketing including those associated with School shootings.
B) But Jesus went to the heart of things. He knew that no one would ever commit murder if they did not first harbor anger and hatred for someone.
--Jesus traced this anger and hatred to two terms that were used as a great insult.
· Raca---Stupid or Empty head---This was different than our casual picking at one another.
· Brain in a beebee rattle like a tin can in a box car.
· Thou Fool-Would be the equivalent of our calling someone a crook or liar.
C) If you have a grudge against someone, don’t come in hypocrisy, thinking that your sacrifice to God will make your heart o.k. He says go and make it right with your brother.
William H. Walton says To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one bee.
Some years ago during a visit to Yellowstone Park one writer observed that the only animal the grizzly bear would share food with was a skunk. It wasn’t that the grizzly wanted to share his food but rather that he chose to. With one swing of his powerful paw he could have crushed the skunk. So why did he allow the skunk to eat with him? Because he knew the high cost of getting even.
A) I have often said that when God handed out the memory chips, he only gave me about 4 megabyte.
--Seriously a good memory can be a great tool in serving the Lord but a good memory used for the wrong purpose can be an anchor that is tied to our foot and we have just tried to swim across the lake. Colosians 3:13
C) Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was reminded one day of a vicious deed that someone had done to her years before. But she acted as if she had never even heard of the incident. "Don’t you remember it?" her friend asked. "No," came Barton’s reply, "I distinctly remember forgetting it."
In his book. Lee: The Last Years, Charles Bracelen Flood reports that after the Civil War, Robert E. Lee visited a Kentucky lady who took him to the remains of a grand old tree in front of her house. There she bitterly cried that its limbs and trunk had been destroyed by Federal artillery fire. She looked to Lee for a word condemning the North or at least sympathizing with her loss. After a brief silence, Lee said, "Cut it down, my dear Madam, and forget it." It is better to forgive the injustices of the past than to allow them to remain, let bitterness take root and poison the rest of our life.
D) Many Christians allow grudges and bitterness to fill their heart. It may never lead to murder but it will hinder your relationship with Christ. The biggest reason that I find for people not being willing to forgive others is that they don’t really have an understanding of how Christ has forgiven them.
I want you to think for a minute about some of the worse things you have done morally. Be honest with yourself and with God. Did you know that as a child of God, washed in the blood of Jesus Christ, you are fully forgiven? Did you know that Jesus in eternity past knew you would make those mistakes and yet He still chose for you to be born because He has a plan for you. Now, if God can forgive us when we fail, shouldn’t we forgive others?