As a prison chaplain it’s pretty common for me to talk to people who have been convicted of murder. You know what? It’s not something we talk a lot about. For most convicted men, it is a hugely regrettable mistake they made…sometimes it’s been as long as 25 years ago when they were just a “dumb kid.” Of course, it’s always a super-serious thing, but as far as they have been able, they are serving their sentence, made peace with God (and sometimes the family of their victim) and are attempting to live at peace with others now.
But outside the prison, in my everyday life, I believe I’m perhaps more prone to be walking around with unrepentant murderers! According to Jesus’ take on the Sixth Commandment, the person who calls someone an airhead or a moron out of unjust anger has disobeyed the implications of the command to Not Murder in his heart. In other words, God says that the heart that does one is the same as the heart who does the other.
The enormous contrast I’m emphasizing is not in the difference between homicide and name-calling… It’s between those who are emotionally convicted and repentant, and the one who kills, gets away with it, and feels self-justified without understanding the gravity of his actions.
Yesterday, I challenged the congregation to proactively get their relational crises worked out. Don’t allow this unrepentant sin to continue. Take your anger, bitterness and resentment to God.
Four points that Jesus recommended we do when there is murderous feelings in our hearts against others:
You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, “Do not murder”… Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
- Stop-nothing you’re doing right now is as important as working out the differences.
- Go -the situation is urgent, and your responsibility to initiate
- Be Reconciled-restore peace in your relational problem…You don’t have to be right. You do have to be reconciled
- Worship in Freedom-God cares so much about your relational problem, that He is willing to set aside His own worship until you work things out. So work them out, and then and only then return to the altar of God without guilt, without hindrance.
This is a lot like what we’ll discover throughout the Moral Compass Series. I hope you’re keeping up each of the issues so that we re-set our compasses based on God’s Word. If you missed this message or any other message in the series, you can download or listen to them online at www.teamchurch.org/sermons