Anger with your brother or sister
Still pondering Matthew chapter 5 going back to verse 21 where Jesus expands the commandment “You shall not murder.” He tells us that if we are angry with our brother or sister, we will be liable to judgment. If we insult a brother or sister, we will be liable to the council and if we call anyone a fool, we will be liable to the hell of fire.
The more I dig into the teachings of Jesus, the more I see how radical his message is. Not only are we not to take the life of another, but we murder something precious when we hold judgment or insult another. I look back to the last time I judged another as less then the divine being he was created to be (and I don’t have to go back very far) and I feel how something precious within me was assaulted as well. I am aware of how the connection with another, myself and the Divine was abruptly severed.
Jesus tells us that when we insult another, we face council. Think of the energy it takes to keep up the insults in your mind. All of our attention is consumed by the chatter in our heads about this other person leaving very little focus left for anything else. And if you listen carefully, underneath the mind chatter about another, we heard the same prattle humming in the background about us. It is as if we have this committee or council in our heads judging us as harshly as we judge another.
I find it interesting that to Jesus to call another a fool is the worse offense. When you think about it, there is contempt behind the label fool and when we are that disconnected from another and ourselves, it does feel like hell.
So often the wording that is used in the Bible presents a picture of an outside final authority watching and judging our words and deeds. Yet, when we really sit with these life transforming words, we realize that we don’t need an outside authority. It is the tone of our inner being that creates the outer picture. When we judge, insult or call others a fool, our interior world feels like hell. When we offer love and intentionally look to connect with what is the best in another, we experience what Jesus calls the Kingdom of Heaven.
Today, I commit to paying attention to what is happening in my inner world when I judge, insult or think another a fool. I will let my body be my barometer telling me when I have slip away from my foundation of love. I will then remember that I can return to that center anytime I choose by simply letting go of the murderous thoughts and replacing them with thoughts of appreciation and grace.