“You shall not murder.” Exodus 20:13
In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, Jesus tells us a bit more about this commandment (Matt. 5:21-26). When we are angry with others and at odds with them, we are breaking this commandment. Other things that break this commandment are things like slander, gossip, withholding things like food or encouragement- doing these weakens the other person.
So how in the world do we do this? Especially the anger part. Is it ever ok to be angry? It is ok to be angry at SIN in a person, but not at the person or what they took away from you. It’s tough.
It starts with our relationship with God- a God who loves us unconditionally and sent his son to die for our sins when we have done NOTHING to deserve this. I repeat, NOTHING. That is a radical love, and radical forgiveness.
God’s love and forgiveness spurs us on to love and forgive our fellow man. When we are all caught up in ourselves, we can’t do this. The opposite of love is self. Anger is sneaky, too. It can start really small and slow, but like a fire, it can smolder until it becomes a raging blaze. It can also lead to bitterness.
There is also a “thou shall” part to this command. Think- if you are not to be tearing someone down, what should you be doing? Building them up! Hebrews 3:13 says “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
One of the key things that goes into obedience of this command is appropriate confrontation and reconciliation. Sometimes you need to discuss a situation with another person so the anger won’t smolder and the two of you can be reconciled.
The easy thing might to be to ignore it, but if you do that you risk anger, gossip, slander, you being in sin, not building them up, and not growing in Christ together. Matthew 5:24 tells us to be reconciled to our brothers.
We can’t change them; only God can do that. But we have to pay attention to our own hearts, and that involves working at reconciliation. This is a tough command; ask God to help you with it.
Is there someone you need to be reconciled with?