Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death.
~ John 11:53 (NKJV)
There were a handful of occasions when Jesus outraged people, and they spontaneously rose up in the effort to kill Him (second degree murder). Then the day arrived when Jesus became so inconvenient for the Pharisees and Jewish leaders that they plotted His death (first degree murder).
Murder is always a matter of degrees.
Jesus explained that lust is adultery in the heart (Matthew 5:28). Likewise, hatred is the seeds of murder in the heart (Matthew 5:21-22).
Murder always begins with hatred of a person found to be inconvenient.
There are those people who perpetually annoy us. The arrogant know-it-alls and the repeated screw-ups and the awkward social-inepts. The one-step-aheads, who stand between us and an ambition.
And then there are the people who really are out to get us.
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
~ 2 Timothy 3:12 (NKJV)
At what point to do we look at another individual and decide that our lives would be better if they were dead? We may not think in those terms. Perhaps we dream of either (s)he or me quitting a job so that our paths will no longer cross. Or we hear they're absent due to sickness and wonder how long a break we'll get. Or the day comes when they're no longer in church, and in our relief to see them gone, we have no sorrow over what becomes of them.
We wish only that they might become dead to us.
Such are the seeds of hatred, bearing fruit in curt speech, a cold shoulder, or an inward smile at misfortune.
Each of which chips away at a person's well being, a tiny dagger of murder.
"... I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you... If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them."
~ Luke 6:27-32 (NKJV)
Lord Jesus, thank You for the example of love and grace You gave us. Please enable us to see people as You do, and to be Your ministers of love to every neighbor, even the inconvenient and hateful ones. We do it only by Your power in us.
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Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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