Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 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. – Matthew 5.21-22
It is a really, really good thing that Jesus fulfilled the Law. The Law seems like a lot of outside does and don’ts, and it is. We could not even do the visible things required. Now Jesus makes it clear that obeying and fulfilling the is much more than just doing – it is a way of being. It is not enough to just keep the Law – it must be kept from the heart.
The first illustration Jesus uses to teach this lesson is to define murder. Everyone knew ‘you shall not kill.’ That was obvious.
Jesus must have shocked them when He said that was not enough. Not only can you not kill anyone, but if you hate someone it is the same things as committing murder.
How can that be? How is it just as bad if I keep it in my heart?
Because all sin starts in the heart I can’t afford to allow hate to take root in my life. If hate goes unchecked eventually it will show itself in my life. Other places in scripture tell us that it is impossible to love God and hate our brother.
Hate is totally incompatible with citizens of the Kingdom, even while living in a world that is going to hate us. We must deal with any semblance of hate in our hearts.