The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 is probably Jesus’ most famous teaching. The oft-quoted (and misquoted) Beatitudes are part of that sermon. One part that might not get much attention is this section:
“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
“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 lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.
You can glean several insights from the passage, but the one I want to share is this: it matters what you do, but it also matters what is inside you.
Luke 6.45: “The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.”
Proverbs 4.23: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
It is said that “actions speak louder than words”, and this is true. But actions spring forth from what is inside us. How is your heart/soul/mind? If we allow resentment, bitterness, anger, envy to build up inside of us, it will eventually find its way out into our actions.
DO THIS TODAY TO FOLLOW JESUS: Monitor your thoughts and feelings. Don’t just let them float through your mind/heart/soul. Having a thought, or reaction, or feeling is not something to beat yourself up about. It is how you deal with it that is the issue. If you have a thought or feeling that is not constructive, deal with it. One way to do this is to carry on a conversation with God. “God, what she said makes me feel _______. Help me to let that go.” “God, this situation makes me so _________. Give me the grace to keep going.”
PRAY THIS PRAYER: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19.14)