Who has been angry with their brother before?
Who has called a friend or someone in class an idiot?
Who has called someone a fool?
Jesus is telling us that all these things are just as bad as breaking the 5th commandment…Thou shall not kill.
I won’t ask you to raise your hand on this one but how many of you have ever had impure thoughts about someone? Watched a movie or video clip that was pornographic? Read a book or a magazine that was overly sexual?
Jesus tells us that that those things are just as bad as breaking the 6th commandment…thou shall not commit adultery. He even goes so far (and his extremely exaggerating) in saying that it would be better for us to pluck out our eye to think lustful thoughts about someone.
If even tells us that we shouldn’t have to take oaths because our Yes should always mean yes and our noes should always mean no. Meaning that we are truthful all the time, so much so that we don’t even need to take an oath for someone to believe us.
But how many of you have lied today. How many of you have cheated this semester? How many of you have told your parents you would do something, knowing that you had no intention of doing it?
You see we are called to do more than just follow the letter of the law, the literal meaning of the law. The scribes and Pharisees did that. They would only do EXACTLY what the Law said they had to do, and if they wanted to do something they would try to bend the rules so that they could do it. The scribes and Pharisees were more concerned about looking like they were doing the right thing, then actually finding out why they were called to do the right thing. This lead to them sinning while still following the Law.
The would insult one another, they would gossip about one another, they would hold impure thoughts about other men’s wives, they would lie unless they were under oath, because these things were not directly forbidden by the Law.
You see what Jesus was trying to show us here is that little things add up to big things. If we insult someone enough times, then we start seeing them as less human then us. It becomes easier for us to commit violence against them. It is a common tactic used to divide people, to group up people, to make them separate then us, so that we don’t see their humanity. We call them “Ivan,” a name for the Russians we used in the Army, “Charlie,” a name for the Viet Cong we fought during the Vietnam War, or how about “illegals,” “refugee,” “Muslim,” “Gay,” “Snowflake,” “Liberal,” “Nazi,” “Fascist,” and many others. All used to make a person different from us so that we can think lesser of them
My challenge to you this week is to prevent yourself from committing those small sins that end up leading to the big ones. To stop gossiping, to stop the name calling, to try to control your impure thoughts, and to stop treating others like you would be treated. This week live with Love and Hope as your primary motivator and not fear or hate.