Why does Jesus equate judgement for murder with judgement for being angry?
Matthew 5:31 - 32
ESV - 31 "It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
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First, I believe that at least some translations express Matthew 5:22 as, "Whoever is angry with his brother without a cause...", so Jesus is not condemning all anger. (Paul expressed the same thought in Ephesians 4:26 when he told the members of the church at Ephesus, "Be angry, but do not sin.") Not all forms of anger are sin. However, if a person dwells on his anger, and refuses to seek reconciliation with or resolution of the source of that anger (even if the person has a valid reason or cause to be angry), it can make the anger build, and reach a point where the person might lose control of his emotions and his actions under circumstances where he would normally be able to restrain himself and act rationally, and thus end up actually harming the other person (in addition to the adverse effects of the accumulated anger on the emotional and physical health of the angry person). Acts of violence against another do not normally occur without events that have led up to them (even if only in the mind of the perpetrator). Also, God judges us not only on our actions, but on the thoughts that could potentially lead to those actions, which is what makes it impossible for anyone (except Jesus) to truly claim that they are without sin. Jesus is using the same equivalence and extreme imagery here as He did elsewhere in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:27-30) when he said that looking at a woman with lustful intent is the same in God's eyes as committing adultery with her in one's heart, even if no physical contact occurs. Such a standard emphasizes why every one of us is in need of both the forgiveness and salvation that God has made possible through faith in Christ, and the Holy Spirit's help in avoiding and resisting these thoughts and actions.
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