Jesus Says: You might be a murderer if...

"Well, at least I'm not like so and so!"  

Have you ever noticed this tendency we have as humans to toss angry fits of self-righteousness whenever we feel the need to vindicate ourselves?

In the process, we throw everybody in our cross-hairs under the proverbial bus for all the wrong things they've done.  We push somebody else down in order to lift us up.  And, to really drive the point home and just to make sure you know what a wonderful person I am, we then proceed to put the bus in reverse and back it right over them again.  We double down on our abusive language, and make no apologies for it.

You see this sort of thing all the time on cable news, the Jerry Springer show, and in countless "debates" on Facebook.

The longer I live, the more I am convinced there is nothing that we love more than gossipy slander and the straight out character assassination of others.  Putting others down Donald Trump style is where the real action is at.  No wonder he's such a popular political candidate.  There are few things more entertaining than watching somebody tell somebody else off, and really letting them have it.  And as Bible believing Christians, we love such things!

Yet in the eyes of Jesus, such heated exchanges and mincing of words are quite destructive.  In fact, Jesus says they are so destructive that He likens them unto murder.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:
"You have heard that the ancients were told, 'You shall not commit murder' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell." ~ (Matthew 5:21-22; NASB)
How many times have we told somebody they were a "good-for-nothing" or a "fool?"  Sadly, some know all too well what it means to be told by their parents and teachers "you'll never amount to anything!"  Such words are destructive and murderous.

Yeah, I know, you've never literally put a knife in somebody's back.  You've just cut them down with the words of your mouth until there isn't much left.  Such might not get you arrested for murder these days.  But Jesus says that such words are enough to convict you in His court just the same, and to send you to the same place where murderers go for all eternity.

That's some serious stuff.

You might not be Adolf Hitler, but in the eyes of Jesus, you aren't too far removed.  You are closely enough related to him in your character to spend all eternity in hell with him.

You see, the Bible teaches that you and I are created in the image and likeness of God.  That is what makes humanity unique and special when compared to animals, which are not.  Therefore, when we kill another person, we become guilty of destroying the image of God in which humanity was created.  To attack another person is to attack God Himself.

Such is why God considers murder such a serious offense.

Likewise in the same spirit, Jesus sees our words having the same effect.  When we slander somebody else, we end up using our words in such a way to destroy somebody who is created in the image and likeness of God.  It makes us no different than somebody who is guilty of murder.  We both are guilty of destroying somebody created in God's image.  The only difference is the nature of our weapons.

So, the next time you get all worked up and feel like you really need to give somebody a piece of your mind, and let them know what you are really thinking, carefully consider the things you are about to say.  Instead of being the type of person who speaks words that have the power to kill the souls of others, become the type of person who speaks words of life.

If you really wish to prove yourself righteous, talk to somebody else as if you were talking about God.  After all, they are created in His very likeness.  They might appear to be an awful good-for-nothing person.  But at the end of the day, they still look more like God than looking like nothing.

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