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Murder Part Two

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6:27
Life Changing—Hardest Commandment to Keep
Importance of Message: Change your LIfe
I’m convinced that if we grasp the concepts that we are about to explore that your life can be dramatically changed. There is nothing more important than what we are about to hear. This is the time that grace is dispensed to us. The sixth commandment is do not murder. As we saw last Sunday, at first glance, this commandment seems to be the easiest to keep. But when we read Jesus’ words about the sixth commandment we find this may be the most difficult commandment to keep.
Jesus says some shocking words in about this sixth commandment.
Matthew 5:21–22 ESV
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
Traditional Interpretation: Jesus Equates Anger with Murder—Look Deeper
The traditional interpretation of this passage is that Jesus equates anger with murder. That being angry with your brother is the same as murdering him in God’s sight.
Make no mistake, Jesus puts anger on the same playing field as murder. But that traditional understanding of this passage is not exactly what the passage says rather plainly.
Most understand this passage to mean that Jesus is talking about the WRONG kind of anger, the WRONG kind of insulting, and the WRONGFUL calling of others fools.
Matthew 5:21–22 ESV
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
Traditional Understanding: Anger without good Cause
Jesus didn’t say that being angry makes you a murderer, he said that being angry opens you up to the same kind of judgment as being a murderer. He doesn’t say that calling someone a fool makes you a murderer, he says that calling someone a fool opens you up to even worse judgment than being a murderer.
He doesn’t say that calling someone a fool makes you a murderer, he says that calling someone a fool opens you up to even worse judgment than being a murderer.
So you can leave today being assured that you aren’t a murderer. What a relief.
Another misconception....
Anger Without a Cause or Anger in General?
Most understand this passage to mean that Jesus is talking about the WRONG kind of anger, the WRONG kind of insulting, and the WRONGFUL calling of others fools.
In other words, Jesus is talking about the times we fly off the handle. In other words, Jesus is talking about unjustified anger. Anger without good cause.
KJV: Inclusion of Without A Cause
This even led the translators of the KJV to include the phrase, without a cause.
This even led the translators of the KJV to include the phrase, without a cause. Look at the way verse 22 reads in the KJV:
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. ~, KJV
Jesus: Moneychangers, Simon, Calling Friends and Foes Fools
The thinking is that Jesus must have been speaking about unjustified anger, because Jesus himself got angry, but didn’t sin in his anger. In , , , and , we have accounts ofJesus driving out the moneychangers from the Temple. He makes a whip, it was premeditated, it was public.
Jesus even insulted others, but didn’t sin. Recorded in , There was the time that Jesus went to the house of Simon for dinner a woman comes and washes Jesus’ feet with her hair, Jesus knows that Simon is judging her and judging him, and and so Jesus insulted him in front of the guests by calling him out. Jesus wasn’t sinning there. Jesus insulted the religious leaders constantly and didn’t sin.
Jesus also called people fools. He called his enemies fools in , he called his closest followers dull and foolish in , and the angel called his followers fools in Luke 24.
But didn’t sin. So many would say that Jesus here can’t be talking about the righteous anger, the rightful insults or the times when we call someone a fool a fool.
But didn’t sin. So many would say that Jesus here can’t be talking about the righteous anger, the rightful insults or the times when we call someone a fool a fool. That Jesus is talking about unrighteous anger. Anger where there is a cause.
So the thinking is that Jesus here is talking about anger without a cause.
KJV is Bad Translation
Jesus doesn’t differentiate between the times you have a right to be angry and the times you don’t have a right to be angry. So is Jesus being inconsistent?
The reality though is that the KJV is one of the only versions that include the phrase, “without a cause” because the evidence to include it is extremely flimsy. The phrase without a cause doesn’t belong there.
Additional Evidence: Adultery
Another challenge. Most reading this say that Jesus is talking about the wrong kind of anger, the wrong kind of insults, and calling someone a fool wrongly. They would say that Jesus got angry, but he didn’t sin in his anger. Jesus insulted others…he was at dinner at Simon’s house once, and he insulted Simon….but he didn’t sin. Jesus called people fools…but he didn’t sin. So most would look at this and say, Jesus was talking about the kind of anger that doesn’t have good cause. This caused those translating the KJV to actually add a phrase that says if you are angry with your brother, without good cause. And that simply isn’t in any manuscripts. Because I don’t think that was what Jesus was talking about.
The reality is, that Jesus doesn’t differentiate between the times you have a right to be angry and the times you don’t have a right to be angry. So is Jesus being inconsistent?
Read it carefully. Jesus doesn’t say that being angry makes you a murderer. He doesn’t characterize this anger as sin or not sin. That isn’t his point. What does he say?
Jesus doesn’t differentiate between the times you have a right to be angry and the times you don’t have a right to be angry. Do you know why I think he did that? Because we would constantly justify ourselves as having a right to be angry. We would constantly say that we have a right to call someone a fool. He doesn’t let us off the hook that easily. Because the real freedom is found in those who have a right to be angry, who have a right to hurl insults, who have a right to call someone a fool…but don’t.
Jesus didn’t say that being angry makes you a murderer, he said that being angry opens you up to the same kind of judgment as being a murderer.
He doesn’t say that calling someone a fool makes you a murderer, he says that calling someone a fool opens you up to even worse judgment than being a murderer.
So you can leave today being assured that you aren’t a murderer. What a relief.
Additional Evidence: Adultery
Am I just trying to be annoying? Am I trying to go against the grain? Does it simply go without saying that Jesus is equating anger with murder and that Jesus is referring to the sinful kind of anger? Anger without cause? Reading Jesus’ words on next week’s commandment answers our question...
Example of Adultery Vs Murder
Because after Jesus talks about murder he talks about adultery.
Matthew 5:27–28 ESV
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
:
He makes a distinction in verse 27 that he doesn’t make when it comes to anger. So with murder, he never says that if you are angry you are a murderer. But most people infer that is what Jesus was saying. Why? Because here Jesus does say that if you look lustfully in your heart, you have already committed adultery. So Jesus would have said that anger was the same as murder if that was what he was driving at because he said later that lust was the same as adultery. There is no way around that.
We would Justify Anger All the Time: Real Freedom
We would Justify Anger All the Time
So not only is Jesus saying we are on the same playing field with murder when we are angry, he is saying that whether we have a reason to be angry or not…don’t be. That’s where the real freedom is.
Do you know why I think he did that? Because we would constantly justify ourselves as having a right to be angry. We would constantly say that we have a right to call someone a fool. He doesn’t let us off the hook that easily. Because the real freedom is found in those who have a right to be angry, who have a right to hurl insults, who have a right to call someone a fool…but don’t.
One reason Jesus doesn’t seem to differentiate between anger with and without cause is because if he gave us that out we would constantly justify ourselves as having a right to be angry.
He doesn’t let us off the hook that easily. Because he loves us too much to do that. He wants us to be free inside. Not only from the times that our anger is unjustified but, listen maybe more importantly, for the times our anger IS justified.
Because the real freedom is found in those who have a right to be angry, who have a right to hurl insults, who have a right to call someone a fool…but don’t.
How?
It’s the way we respond.
Promised Life Changing Words Last Week
Last week, I promised that today I would share something else that would change your life related to the 6th commandment. The problem is that I let the illustration slip out last Sunday night at our One Night Event.
But I will share it again because I promised to share this life changing thing and plus I think it is something we could hear every Sunday and it not get old and it won’t become impractical.
Creed Junior—Don’t Fall for It
Jesus doesn’t say that all anger is a sin, but most of the time we sin when we are angry.
He doesn’t let us off the hook that easily. Because he loves us too much to do that. He wants us to be free inside. Not only from the times that our anger is unjustified but, listen maybe more importantly, for the times our anger IS justified.
Jesus doesn’t say that all anger is a sin.
He doesn’t let us off the hook that easily. Because he loves us too much to do that. He wants us to be free inside. Not only from the times that our anger is unjustified but for the times our anger is justified.
Jesus doesn’t say that all anger is a sin.
Because the real freedom is found in those who have a right to be angry, who have a right to hurl insults, who have a right to call someone a fool…but don’t.
Jesus doesn’t say that all anger is a sin.
Ephesians 4:26 ESV
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
But let’s just play this out…we say, Jesus isn’t talking about righteous anger. Fair enough. He’s not. He’s talking about all anger. But test yourself when you think you are righteously angry. Test yourself when you believe yourself to have the right to call someone a fool. Do you? Are you doing it behind their back? Are you calling them a fool in love? Have you been a fool yourself? Yes, Jesus got angry and called people fools....very very rarely. And he is Jesus and we are not.
We would say that Jesus got angry, but didn’t sin in his anger. Jesus insulted others, but didn’t sin. There was the time that Jesus went to the house of Simon for dinner, and Jesus insulted him in front of the guests by calling him out. Jesus wasn’t sinning there. Jesus insulted the religious leaders constantly and didn’t sin. Jesus called people fools. But didn’t sin. So many would say that Jesus here can’t be talking about the righteous anger, the rightful insults or the times when we call someone a fool a fool. That Jesus is talking about unrighteous anger. Anger where there is a cause. He is saying that even those times that your anger isn’t sinful, you are opening yourself up to all kinds of problems. It’s so glorious. You say, well why did Jesus get angry…because Jesus got angry so you don’t have to. Jesus is Jesus.
There is a clue in on how to be angry without sinning. Because you can start out with righteous anger, but it can end in a bad place. It can fester. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Resolve to never go to bed angry.
One reason Jesus doesn’t seem to differentiate between anger with and without cause is because if he gave us that out we would constantly justify ourselves as having a right to be angry.
He doesn’t let us off the hook that easily. Because he loves us too much to do that. He wants us to be free inside. Not only from the times that our anger is unjustified but, listen maybe more importantly, for the times our anger IS justified.
Because the real freedom is found in those who have a right to be angry, who have a right to hurl insults, who have a right to call someone a fool…but don’t.
Ephesians 4:31 ESV
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
And think about those people who just won’t enter into it.
Am I saying it is never right to be angry, it is never right to hurl insults, it is never right to call someone a fool…I’m not saying that because Jesus didn’t say that. Jesus said, if you do it, you are opening yourself up to a world of problems.
James 1:19–20 ESV
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Is it good for us to get angry when we have a right to get angry?
Is it good for us to call someone a fool when we have a right to call someone a fool?
Luke 17:1 ESV
And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come!
Change Your Life: Overlooking Offenses (5th) and Don’t Fall For It (6th)
Two weeks ago I told you that in relationship to the 5th commandments, honor your father and your mother, that your life would be changed if you became the kind of person who “overlooks offenses”. says it is to your glory to overlook an offense. And if you truly become that kind of person, who overlooks offenses, it will change everything about every relationship you have and it will make you a free person.
Hebrews 12:14–15 ESV
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
—go on to maturity.
: 14-15That related to the 5th commandment, it would change every relationship you have with family members because overlooking offenses in the context of the family is the name of the game. It just is.
That related to the 5th commandment, it would change every relationship you have with family members because overlooking offenses in the context of the family is the name of the game. It just is.
Last week, I promised that today I would share something else that would change your life related to the 6th commandment. That just as overlooking offenses would change your life that there is something related to the 6th commandment that could really change your life. The problem is that I let the illustration slip out last Sunday night at our One Night Event.
But I will share it again because I promised to share this life changing thing and plus I think it is something we could hear every Sunday and it not get old and it won’t become impractical.
Creed Junior—Don’t Fall for It
I love the Rocky movies. For those who don’t know these movies—Rocky is an underdog boxer who usually ends up winning in the end.
Here it is…listen…your life will be changed…I guarantee it.
The last Rocky movie, Rocky 38…Rocky is like 79 years old. He may be. The guy is still buff. And Rocky is an older man, weathered by life, he owns a gym in the city where he mentors young guys, trains them, Rocky has been humbled by life’s ups and downs, and his new protégé, turns out to be Apollo Creed’s son. For those who have never seen the Rocky movies, Apollo Creed was the champion who Rocky challenged and eventually defeated in the first two movies. Apollo trained Rocky in the third movie and was killed by the big Russian fighter in the fourth movie. So Apollo is a legend. He never knew his son who has a chip on his shoulder.
So Creed Junior has a fight against the champion who is this cocky undefeated boxer who goes by the name Pretty Boy. So there is the infamous press conference scene. Rocky and Creed Junior are sitting there waiting for Pretty Boy to arrive. Rocky leans over to Creed Junior and says, “in two minutes, this fight begins…he is going to do everything he can to make you angry”. Sure enough Pretty Boy arrives, everyone applauds for him. And sure enough Pretty Boy starts verbally attacking Creed Junior. Pretty Boy finds Creed’s insecurities and goes at him. Rocky leans over and says three words to Creed Junior that if you embrace them in life, will change your life…

Don’t. Fall. For. It.

Matthew 24:10–13 ESV
And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
You can tell by Rocky’s tone that he knows Creed Junior is going to fall for it. Rocky had fallen for it at every single press conference when he was young. And the things that Pretty boy said to Young Creed were legitimately offensive. They were mean and wrong and cruel. But he still says don’t fall for it. That’s interesting.
But he says Don’t Fall For It. Creed Junior falls for it, ends up in a brawl, makes a fool of himself, even though the insults being hurled at him were mean and cruel, even though he had a right to defend himself, and the scene ends with Creed Junior by himself despondent that he fell for it.
All week long…we are tempted to fall for it. We are tempted to be offended by someone. To feel left out or to feel slighted by someone. To get angry as a result. We are tempted to justify our anger. To bring death and not life to relationships and conversations.
Don’t take the bait.
Don’t. Fall. For. It.
1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
James 1:12 ESV
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
—no temptation
—anger is internal
Don’t Want to Fall for it Even in My Heart
As I have grown older, and have felt the repercussions of “falling for it” in the past, and have experienced the amazing freedom of “not falling for it” more and more, I have come to the point that I don’t want to “fall for it” for even a second.
I don’t want to “fall for it” at all.
I don’t want my inner lawyer to spring into action and justify why I have the right to “fall for it”. I don’t want to be easily offended because the intensity of my irritation only reveals the depth of my idolatry. Or as CS Lewis said, “A man is as big as the things that make him angry”.
I want to be so consumed with nothing but the Spirit of Jesus, that I fully and one hundred percent, from my outward actions and words, to my innermost thoughts and depths of my soul, don’t even consider “falling for it”.
Skandalon—Trigger of a Trap
But how? It’s all about understanding what happens when you take the bait. What happens when you fall for it?
Luke 17:1 ESV
And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come!
Jesus said in to his disciples, offenses are going to come. And the Greek word he used was skandolon. This word means the trigger of a trap. Think about a trap set for an animal. An animal can stand on top of the trap, around the trap, he can interact with the trap without being trapped. It is only when he takes the bait that he triggers the trap. Jesus said that is what offenses are like—they aren’t the trap itself, but the bait that triggers the trap.
So when you fall for it…even when you have cause…when you take the bait…even when you are provoked to take the bait…you trigger the trap and scandalize yourself, you trap yourself. When you fall for it, it may feel freeing to get it off your chest, but the reality is you are just going deeper into bondage.
The longest chapter in the Bible is . It is an exposition of the Law of God. Listen to what verse 165 says:
Don’t. Fall. For. It.
However…here are four words that will change your life even more…
You will fall for it.
So will I.
Psalm 119 ESV
Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes! Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments. I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules. I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me! How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word. Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me! My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times. You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones, who wander from your commandments. Take away from me scorn and contempt, for I have kept your testimonies. Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes. Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors. My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word! When I told of my ways, you answered me; teach me your statutes! Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works. My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word! Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law! I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me. I cling to your testimonies, O Lord; let me not be put to shame! I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart! Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end. Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared. Turn away the reproach that I dread, for your rules are good. Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life! Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord, your salvation according to your promise; then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me, for I trust in your word. And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for my hope is in your rules. I will keep your law continually, forever and ever, and I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts. I will also speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame, for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love. I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes. Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. The insolent utterly deride me, but I do not turn away from your law. When I think of your rules from of old, I take comfort, O Lord. Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked, who forsake your law. Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning. I remember your name in the night, O Lord, and keep your law. This blessing has fallen to me, that I have kept your precepts. The Lord is my portion; I promise to keep your words. I entreat your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise. When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies; I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments. Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me, I do not forget your law. At midnight I rise to praise you, because of your righteous rules. I am a companion of all who fear you, of those who keep your precepts. The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love; teach me your statutes! You have dealt well with your servant, O Lord, according to your word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. You are good and do good; teach me your statutes. The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts; their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law. It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments. Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in your word. I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant. Let your mercy come to me, that I may live; for your law is my delight. Let the insolent be put to shame, because they have wronged me with falsehood; as for me, I will meditate on your precepts. Let those who fear you turn to me, that they may know your testimonies. May my heart be blameless in your statutes, that I may not be put to shame! My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word. My eyes long for your promise; I ask, “When will you comfort me?” For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, yet I have not forgotten your statutes. How long must your servant endure? When will you judge those who persecute me? The insolent have dug pitfalls for me; they do not live according to your law. All your commandments are sure; they persecute me with falsehood; help me! They have almost made an end of me on earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts. In your steadfast love give me life, that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth. Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast. By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants. If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life. I am yours; save me, for I have sought your precepts. The wicked lie in wait to destroy me, but I consider your testimonies. I have seen a limit to all perfection, but your commandment is exceedingly broad. Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts. I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your righteous rules. I am severely afflicted; give me life, O Lord, according to your word! Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord, and teach me your rules. I hold my life in my hand continually, but I do not forget your law. The wicked have laid a snare for me, but I do not stray from your precepts. Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart. I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end. I hate the double-minded, but I love your law. You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. Depart from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of my God. Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope! Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually! You spurn all who go astray from your statutes, for their cunning is in vain. All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross, therefore I love your testimonies. My flesh trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments. I have done what is just and right; do not leave me to my oppressors. Give your servant a pledge of good; let not the insolent oppress me. My eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise. Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love, and teach me your statutes. I am your servant; give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies! It is time for the Lord to act, for your law has been broken. Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold. Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate every false way. Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments. Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name. Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me. Redeem me from man’s oppression, that I may keep your precepts. Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes. My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law. Righteous are you, O Lord, and right are your rules. You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness. My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words. Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it. I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts. Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true. Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight. Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live. With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord! I will keep your statutes. I call to you; save me, that I may observe your testimonies. I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise. Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O Lord, according to your justice give me life. They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose; they are far from your law. But you are near, O Lord, and all your commandments are true. Long have I known from your testimonies that you have founded them forever. Look on my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget your law. Plead my cause and redeem me; give me life according to your promise! Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes. Great is your mercy, O Lord; give me life according to your rules. Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, but I do not swerve from your testimonies. I look at the faithless with disgust, because they do not keep your commands. Consider how I love your precepts! Give me life according to your steadfast love. The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever. Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of your words. I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil. I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law. Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules. Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. I hope for your salvation, O Lord, and I do your commandments. My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly. I keep your precepts and testimonies, for all my ways are before you. Let my cry come before you, O Lord; give me understanding according to your word! Let my plea come before you; deliver me according to your word. My lips will pour forth praise, for you teach me your statutes. My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right. Let your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. I long for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight. Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.
I love the Law—Nothing will Offend Me
You can’t Do It
As I said earlier, I was discussing relationships in the context of the Ten Commandments and shared that embracing as a life verse will change your life.
Neither can I.
I can stand up here all day and talk about anger being the same as murder.
I can talk all day about how good it is to overlook offenses.
I can give you one illustration after another, not only from movies, but from life that show us that the four words, Don’t fall for it when applied to the many situations we face every day will change you. But if I ended the sermon that way, I would tell you the same four words about the sermon, don’t fall for it. Because there are four other words that will change your life even more.
The longest chapter in the Bible is . It is an exposition of the Law of God. Listen to what verse 165 says:

As I said earlier, I was discussing relationships in the context of the Ten Commandments and shared that embracing as a life verse will change your life.
Proverbs 19:11 ESV
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
reads, "Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is to his glory to overlook an offense." Just imagine how much stronger your relationships would be if you became a person who "overlooks offenses". When Melanie and I do pre-marital counseling for couples, we drive this verse home continually. It is easy to counsel others to "overlook offenses", but it is more difficult to put it into practice when someone has offended us with their words, their silence, or their actions. How do we practically "overlook offenses"?
Peter Offended
The Apostle Peter was continuously offended as a disciple of Jesus. Peter must have been offended when Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him three times. It must have deeply offended Peter when Jesus allowed himself to be arrested, and actually chastised Peter for cutting off the ear of one of the guards. It was as if Peter couldn't win...perhaps by forcibly defending Jesus, Peter was not only ready to defend the Messiah, but he had only been attempting to demonstrate just how wrong Jesus' earlier prediction of denial was. Yet Jesus still chastises poor Peter. Even after the resurrection of Jesus, Peter must have been offended when Jesus asked Peter three times if he truly loved Jesus and proclaimed yet another dire prediction that Peter was going to eventually be martyred.
When I say to become the kind of person who doesn’t get angry whether justified or not, when I say to become the kind of person who overlooks offenses…how? What are the three steps?
There aren’t steps, there is a person.
Ironically, it was the oft-offended Peter, who gave us the most powerful way to "overlook offenses". In , he writes,
1 Peter 4:8 ESV
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
In other words, loving each other NOW...loving each other DEEPLY...and loving each other ABOVE ALL ELSE...is what will lead us to "cover a multitude of sins" when we are offended. Loving ahead of time. When you are offended, when you are tempted to be angry, it is too late to start loving. The loving needed to happen far before the offense.
How do we truly love so that when we are offended, love covers a multitude of sins? The problem is we love different people at varying degrees. So it isn't helpful to say that we just need to love everyone, because it isn't human to love all the people who might possibly offend us. That's the point! We need something inhuman...something not of this world to fuel that disposition of love. But we have to be driven to that person…and we won’t be driven to Jesus, unless we truly see the depths of our own sin:
Psalm 119:65 ESV
You have dealt well with your servant, O Lord, according to your word.
Psalm 119:165 ESV
Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. ~, KJV
If you truly get the towering demands of the Law, you won’t be the kind of person who is constantly offended. You just won’t be. Even when you have the right to be offended, you won’t be. Even when you have the right to be angry, you won’t be. That’s what freedom is. And the only way you will be that kind of person is by first knowing the depths of your own shortcomings, by loving the Law, and second by knowing you can’t do it, you can’t love anything, you can’t cover a multitude of sins because you can’t love, unless you are driven to Jesus.
We need a new spiritual heart that consumes our soul to be filled by Love itself in the person of Jesus. In other words, how can our lives be changed to be a person who "overlooks offenses"? By Nothing But Jesus.
We need a new spiritual heart that consumes our soul to be filled by Love itself in the person of Jesus. In other words, how can our lives be changed to be a person who "overlooks offenses"? By Nothing But Jesus.
John 13:34 ESV
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." ~
Let’s go back to Jesus’ words…he says, you have heard it said of old...
He was saying, I know what the rabbis have told you, he wasn’t talking about what the Bible said of old, he was saying, this is what the Rabbis have told you the Scriptures mean...
Jesus said, I know that is what they have told you, but let’s push all of that aside…he said, but I tell you…in other words, stop listening to what the religious people say and listen to me.
Stop listening to the people who say you have a right to be angry, you don’t.
Listen to Jesus. Stop listening to all the rules and weird interpretations of scripture and listen to me. But I tell you, it’s about the heart. I tell you that there is way more to this commandment than meets the eye. I tell you that if you are angry with your brother, if you insult your brother, if you call your brother a fool, you will find yourself in even greater trouble.
Because Jesus took on the trouble for you. For me. When Jesus says that calling someone a fool gets you hell, remember who went to hell for you…Jesus did. Make no mistake, Jesus’ righteous anger, got him arrested. Jesus insulting the Pharisees got him crucified…the foolishness of people in general…the foolery of sin, got Jesus to suffer hell for us.
Jesus doesn’t say that all anger is a sin, but most of the time we sin when we are angry.
Ephesians 4:26 ESV
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
But let’s just play this out…we say, Jesus isn’t talking about righteous anger. Fair enough. He’s not. He’s talking about all anger. But test yourself when you think you are righteously angry. Test yourself when you believe yourself to have the right to call someone a fool. Do you? Are you doing it behind their back? Are you calling them a fool in love? Have you been a fool yourself? Yes, Jesus got angry and called people fools....very very rarely. And he is Jesus and we are not.
There is a clue in on how to be angry without sinning. Because you can start out with righteous anger, but it can end in a bad place. It can fester. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Resolve to never go to bed angry.
Ephesians 4:31 ESV
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
James 1:19–20 ESV
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Anger Opens You Up to Judgment
The reality is, that Jesus doesn’t differentiate between the times you have a right to be angry and the times you don’t have a right to be angry. So is Jesus being inconsistent?
Read it carefully. Jesus doesn’t say that being angry makes you a murderer. He doesn’t characterize this anger as sin or not sin. That isn’t his point. What does he say?
Jesus didn’t say that being angry makes you a murderer, he said that being angry opens you up to the same kind of judgment as being a murderer.
He doesn’t say that calling someone a fool makes you a murderer, he says that calling someone a fool opens you up to even worse judgment than being a murderer.
So you can leave today being assured that you aren’t a murderer. What a relief.
Change Your Life: Overlooking Offenses (5th) and Don’t Fall For It (6th)
Two weeks ago I told you that in relationship to the 5th commandments, honor your father and your mother, that your life would be changed if you became the kind of person who “overlooks offenses”. says it is to your glory to overlook an offense. And if you truly become that kind of person, who overlooks offenses, it will change everything about every relationship you have and it will make you a free person.
Hebrews 12:14–15 ESV
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
That related to the 5th commandment, it would change every relationship you have with family members because overlooking offenses in the context of the family is the name of the game. It just is.
Today, this week, in the months to come, resolve to know Nothing But Jesus. When your heart is set on Jesus...it is more and more unnatural to “fall for it”.
Don’t. Fall. For. It.
But I will share it again because I promised to share this life changing thing and plus I think it is something we could hear every Sunday and it not get old and it won’t become impractical.
However…here are four words that will change your life even more…
You will fall for it.
So will I.
You can’t Do It
Neither can I.
I can stand up here all day and talk about anger being the same as murder.
I can talk all day about how good it is to overlook offenses.
I can give you one illustration after another, not only from movies, but from life that show us that the four words, Don’t fall for it when applied to the many situations we face every day will change you. But if I ended the sermon that way, I would tell you the same four words about the sermon, don’t fall for it. Because there are four other words that will change your life even more.
Overlook Offenses
As I said earlier, I was discussing relationships in the context of the Ten Commandments and shared that embracing as a life verse will change your life.
Proverbs 19:11 ESV
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
Peter Offended
The Apostle Peter was continuously offended as a disciple of Jesus. Peter must have been offended when Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him three times. It must have deeply offended Peter when Jesus allowed himself to be arrested, and actually chastised Peter for cutting off the ear of one of the guards. It was as if Peter couldn't win...perhaps by forcibly defending Jesus, Peter was not only ready to defend the Messiah, but he had only been attempting to demonstrate just how wrong Jesus' earlier prediction of denial was. Yet Jesus still chastises poor Peter. Even after the resurrection of Jesus, Peter must have been offended when Jesus asked Peter three times if he truly loved Jesus and proclaimed yet another dire prediction that Peter was going to eventually be martyred.
When I say to become the kind of person who doesn’t get angry whether justified or not, when I say to become the kind of person who overlooks offenses…how? What are the three steps?
There aren’t steps, there is a person.
Ironically, it was the oft-offended Peter, who gave us the most powerful way to "overlook offenses". In , he writes,
1 Peter 4:8 ESV
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
In other words, loving each other NOW...loving each other DEEPLY...and loving each other ABOVE ALL ELSE...is what will lead us to "cover a multitude of sins" when we are offended. Loving ahead of time. When you are offended, when you are tempted to be angry, it is too late to start loving. The loving needed to happen far before the offense.
How do we truly love so that when we are offended, love covers a multitude of sins? The problem is we love different people at varying degrees. So it isn't helpful to say that we just need to love everyone, because it isn't human to love all the people who might possibly offend us. That's the point! We need something inhuman...something not of this world to fuel that disposition of love. But we have to be driven to that person…and we won’t be driven to Jesus, unless we truly see the depths of our own sin:
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