Lord, Your truth offers freedom. Let me hear and respond and walk in true liberty.
Read: Matthew 5:21-32
 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.  “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.  “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.  Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.  “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’  But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Reflect: In what way is Jesus speaking to deeper motives?
We have said that the best way to change the world is by keeping God’s law. Here Jesus addresses two well-known commandments: “You shall not murder” and “You shall not commit adultery” (Exod. 20:13,14). Murder is the taking of a God-given life and adultery is the breaking of a God-given bond. Untold damage is done by such behavior. Sadly, when it doesn’t affect us personally, we too easily enjoy it as gossip.
Before we declare ourselves “not guilty,” Jesus shows how the seeds of disobedience are common. Murder springs from the slightest anger; adultery unfolds from indulging in the merest glance. A first thought kindles an inferno.
To show us the danger, Jesus suggests drastic remedies (29,30). Mending a relationship is more important than any church-going. Disability is better than adultery. Jesus makes us wince with the extreme examples, but his point was never more serious. He holds us responsible for our anger and lust. But only he can enable us to live the life he commands (Rom. 7:24,25; Gal. 5:22,23).
Examine yourself. Write out the thoughts, motives and behaviors that are seeds for extreme relational violation.
Jesus, my only Savior, guide my heart, my mind, my eyes and my hands in the way that leads to life.