I was a prison Chaplain for quite a few years before I came to Pastor the church I am currently serving and had opportunity to visit most of the jails and prisons in the state in which I ministered. In the time that I served I literally experienced what is portrayed in many TV programs that show and portray so many prison inmates as refusing to admit the truth of their crimes. They were always victims of someone else, or framed or had suffered from some misunderstanding. I noted that this was especially truth of those who were serving for murder. There were a wealth of explanations and descriptions from these which inevitably sought to move the weight of the crime from them to some other culprit. What was especially surprising and a bit distressing was that this was even so of those who professed to belong to Christ. Very few of them were willing to take responsibility for what they had done. Over the years I have come to the conclusion that we, as believers, really do not understand the truth about what Jesus taught murder truly was.
Legally and in common thought, most people conceive of murder as physically taking another person’s life. But Jesus’ teaching on murder, I believe, was aimed at a few basic things.
1. First, because of the self-righteousness of the culture in which God had placed Him, He desired to shatter the self-righteous complacency of so many Israelites who thought of themselves as good people.
2. Secondly, He wished to show us that any form of hatred and even anger without adequate cause served as the same as the basis of the actual act.
3. Thirdly, He wished to cause His listeners/readers to think through just what their thoughts and feelings of hatred and anger was really about.
4. Fourthly, as Paul said the end of Romans 7 and the beginning of Romans 8, the Law was not design to give escape from the sins that offend God, but rather to make sin recognizable as what it was, an offense and outrage to God’s holy nature.