Tim Keller | December 3, 1989
In Matthew 5:21-48, Jesus takes the sixth commandment, “Do not kill,” and expands it to include not just physical harm, but also emotional harm like anger and insults. He teaches us a bold way of love and forgiveness, which is our only real hope. Christianity encourages us to have a renewing relationship with God, which in turn helps us better understand ourselves and others. Jesus’s challenge to love even those who wrong us is built on this renewed relationship with God and self.
1. Himself or herself
Jesus teaches us that the rule against killing also includes anger and insults, showing us the importance of love and the danger of holding on to anger. He points out that his teachings go beyond what was taught in the Old Testament and by religious leaders, making it clear that even feeling angry can be as harmful as physical violence. His teachings remind us to be aware of ourselves, to admit when we’ve done wrong for spiritual growth, to stand up for what’s right, to fight against unfairness, and to remember the important role of forgiveness and open relationships.
2. Other people
Loving those who’ve hurt us, as Jesus instructs in verse 44, might seem hard and even risky. However, it’s a key part of being a Christian. When we remember our own mistakes and the grace God has shown us, we should also show forgiveness to others. We shouldn’t see ourselves as better than others, but as people who’ve made mistakes and been saved by God’s grace. When we choose love and selflessness over holding onto anger, we open our hearts and show the same forgiveness that we’ve received through Jesus Christ.
February Book Offer
In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller shows us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the truth about societal ideals and our own hearts — and that there is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings and fulfill our hopes.
February Book Offer