“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
It is relatively easy to put on an outward show; to behave as others think you should behave, or even as you know you should behave. It is easy to mutter the words “I forgive you” after someone drops, and breaks, a priceless family heirloom. It is easy to say “I’m not mad”. It is another thing to mean those words.
As Christians, we must do more than just outward actions. It is still important to acknowledge someone’s apology. It is still important to perform acts that we are commanded to do; for instance, we must partake of the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). But the actions must be rooted within the person - within our hearts. We need to have the right attitude.
The inner man is a large part of our person. It is perhaps something that the world often let’s fade from memory or concern. But the Christian has no such ‘luxury’. The Christian must prepare themselves internally. With the example of the Lord’s Supper, we read in 1 Corinthians 11:27-34 that we must examine ourselves to ensure that we are partaking in a worthy manner.
While a good attitude is required to truly perform good actions, it is also important to watch that we do not have a bad attitude, or evil thoughts. As we read in the above verses, in Matthew 5, having ill thoughts is just as bad as performing wicked actions.
Hating others, wishing others harm, is just as bad as murdering. It is something that ought not to be done. Lusting after another person is committing adultery. Let us watch our minds and hearts so that we are not thinking wicked thoughts, but instead perform good actions with the proper attitudes.
-- John Thrower Jr.