The Way of the kingdom is completely contrary to everything we see with our eyes around us and everything we have ever experienced in life. The kingdom of heaven is a way of compassion and mercy in the midst of a world of enemies. The way of the kingdom is not understood apart from real injury and suffering. It is in the midst of being injured or having been injured that our hearts are revealed and unless we are filled with God, our sickness and our self is revealed. But some may say, "I am not sick. I am not lacking mercy."
To all of us Jesus says,
"You have heard it said, "Do not murder". But I say, "Anyone who is angry with his brother is subject to judgment. Again, if you say to your brother, "knucklehead" or if you say in your heart, "You fool". You are in danger."
Jesus is making it clear to us that some people manage their anger quite well. These people are wise, but that does not mean they are innocent. They know that to fight openly is not wise, but, inside, the anger and the sense of injustice is there. The heart of murder is just being managed not removed. So, if us religious folk find ourselves in a less guarded moment saying, "Yeah, whatever" or "that guys is an idiot", then know you have a resentment and such anger is not the heart of God. The way of the kingdom is not learning to manage and conceal our anger and resentments. The way of the kingdom is a positive compassion and mercy toward all. Jesus says there is no difference between a hidden resentment and murder from a spiritual perspective. The hidden resentment is simply the murder of the more sophisticated and refined among us. Hidden resentment is just managed murder. It is murder in the heart nonetheless. Do not think that such a heart is any less dangerous spiritually than crimal behavior is legally.
Our small quips of "what a knucklehead" or "what an idiot" reveal that our hearts are yet to be filled with the compassion of God to the fullest. We need to clease our hearts to be filled with God.
Resentments, even concealed resentments, cannot reside with the mercy and compassion of God. If we seek more of God, we must find a path to total elimination of our anger. The goal is to completely cease fighting for our selfish will. The goal is perfect meekness before the will of God, but so long as resentments remain, we will fail to find the capacity to cease fighting. We will continue to protect self.
How can we be saved from a heart filled with the propensity to be so easily disturbed? Why do we pick up our weapons and defend ourselves? The first step is to reveal to ourselves that the resentments are there and that unless we can replace these resentments with mercy we shall be of little use to Christ and His kingdom. Here is the beginning movements of our hearts toward finding more of God and a heart of mercy.
This path to freedom from the service of self is not an impossible road. Christ has laid out a plan and an example that we can follow to become filled with His life in our experience. In the posts ahead, we will find this path, and, if we follow it, we will find the kingdom.