Tuesday, March 8, 2016

the ten: life and love... not murder (part 8)

"You shall not murder." (Exodus 20:13)

God gave us this command because the evil present in the heart of mankind, if left unchecked, will ultimately lead to each of us destroying ourselves. Were it not for God, we would truly have no hope to survive. For because of our sin, we are an angry, evil race of souls that walk the face of this earth.

Did you know that in the United States, by the time a child grows to adulthood he will have already viewed tens of thousands of murders and acts of violence merely from watching television, movies and even commercial advertising? If that wasn't enough, there are video games that are easily accessible for our kids to play that hold only one objective: killing. I'm not talking about the killing you see from a war game (not that it makes it any better). No, there are games available that promote "fun" to our kids by simulating their killing of innocent bystanders, the elderly, the cripple, women, children, etc. It is terrible.

Yes, no one can deny that violence and killing is a horrible part of our sinful culture. Turn on the news any night of the week and you will see it first hand. You will hear about the latest murder, what countries are at war, and how our civil liberties are being preserved by groups that want us to maintain "rights" to murder innocent children before they have ever emerged from their mother's womb.

Now, I am fairly certain that the majority of those reading this blog have not physically murdered another individual. (At least, I hope that is the case.) That said, please do not disregard this commandment just yet. Read with me the words of our Lord in Matthew 5.

"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. 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." (Matthew 5:21-24)

The word "Raca" mentioned in these verses is translated to mean "empty headed". Wow. According to Christ's statement, I have murdered in my heart. For how many times have I been so angry or annoyed at someone that I have written them off as an idiot... as empty headed... as a fool? How many times have I left an issue with a burning tumor of resentment in the pit of my stomach? How many times have I allowed a matter to fester so much that I ultimately end up having a tantrum with whomever is unlucky enough to be standing next to me? How many times have I retired for the day without first going to my husband, my family, my friends, my co-workers for forgiveness or reconciliation? Wow... too many times to count, I'm afraid.

"In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." (Ephesians 4:26-27)

Murder is not just the unlawful act of brutally killing another human being in the physical sense. It is also the act of destroying, putting to end, spoiling and sometimes annihilating a relationship... a hope... a spirit. As women, we have such a power to suffocate the feelings of our families and friends. Our spouses, parents, children all look to us as the heart of our homes, yet how often do we shatter their dreams or deflate their egos merely because we cannot keep our own selfishness in check? How many of us have sucked the air out of their lungs or taken the wind from their sails by speaking cruel words or giving venomous glares? Have we not thought out in our frustration at one time or another, "I wish I never got married," or "Why did I have children?" or "I hate my parents." Furthermore, have we even massacred our own existence with self-degrading thoughts such as, "I wish I was never born," or "I'm useless to anyone."

Ladies, these are all forms of murder in the eyes of God.

God gave us #6 of "the ten" to remind us that any form of murder is not acceptable to Him for us to live fully in His abundance and grace.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)

Anger and resentment, if left unchecked, will only bring us down one road if not confronted by God's law... destruction and death. Without Jesus, we will indeed offend, slander, hurt, humiliate, destroy, write off, injure, and kill each other. It is a certainty because we are sinners. The Lord has given us this command the same way He reasoned with Cain before he chose to kill Abel in anger. Like Cain, we have the choice to follow God's command to love and do what is right, or we can walk right around God and destroy one another. (Let me give you a tip: option #1 is the way to go!)

When it comes to anger, God wants us to look at it as a symptom that requires holy correction. And He wants us to address it immediately. To uproot it. To deal with it. To attack it head on. Satan has nothing to stand on internally if we address our anger biblically. Our Messiah tells us not to give the enemy one inch to stand upon within the walls of our hearts. Do not allow him to infiltrate your thoughts, then words, then actions. Let me be clear... Satan will move in to destroy us like a covert assassin if he has the smallest platform of hurt or impatience to work with. He has and will do anything in his power to ruin our marriages, our friendships, our worth, and our relationship with our perfect, holy Creator if we do not wisely heed our Father's command on this matter.

So how do we deal with anger? The simple answer is this: we need be upfront with one another and we need to take our concerns, hurts and frustrations to the Lord. Sometimes, we may be so sick in a place of anger that the only way out - the only light we have - is the choice to honestly and transparently ask God to help us move past our desire to retaliate against another. He is able to teach us how to treat others as He has so generously and mercifully treated us... with forgiveness. Learn from this parable offered from our righteous Teacher:

"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.'" (Matthew 18:21-35)

Ladies, let us not lose ourselves in anger and give into the selfish ways of this world. Let us not murder and be led into destruction by the enemy's evil prodding. Let's be like the psalmist who goes directly to the Lord with his frustrations and complaints only to realize the health and wealth gained in seeking the company and relief of our Master's presence and infinite wisdom.

"Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. They say, 'How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?' This is what the wicked are like - always carefree, they increase in wealth. Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning. If I had said, 'I will speak thus,' I would have betrayed your children. When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies. When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds." (Psalm 73)

So again, how do we deal with our anger? By taking our pain, discouragements, and perplexities into the sanctuary of our King. Let's trust Him to rule over all matters. Let's bring our tangled, twisted grumblings to His holy temple and lay them before His feet so that He may guide ours down His correct path. Let's seek after more of our Savior so we see less of ourselves. Let's run toward Him so that we may reflect His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self control toward one another. Let us value the life of each other as Christ has valued our own. Let us draw near to Him and put our trust in Him. For He is the answer to every issue. Believe and follow Jesus, the Redeemer, and you will LIVE! Let's be promoters of life and love... not murder.

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

2 comments:

  1. God's word is like a double edged sword...searches my thoughts and motives!!! This is truly what I needed today and in my life as I am seeking to be a better woman!!
    THANKS!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank You for loving me so much to take the time to share with me the things my eyes may no see. Thank you for your tneder mercies, lovingkindness and mercy on me.The Lord God is mighty and good.

    ReplyDelete

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