It was said . . . but I say


“IT was said . . . but I say” connotes authority and a superseding effect. According to Matthew 5:21 to 28, Jesus taught His disciples further explaining the commandments: “It was said thou shall not kill, but I say being angry with a brother without cause is murder.”

By Moses Tshimukeni Mahlangu

He goes on to say: “It was said thou shall not commit adultery, but I say unto you who so lust after a woman commits adultery.”

God’s law is so immutable that it demanded the substitutionary death of Jesus. No dot, title could be annulled from it. Jesus’ teaching was a direct attack on the Jews’ outward show of obedience.

This fatal mistake was exposed. Jesus is actually saying the problem is not killing or committing adultery, but evil thoughts.

Murder or lust for a woman first exists in the mind. Giving room to hatred or hate language is actually setting oneself to becoming a murderer.

The same thing applies with sexual lust. In the mind the sexual lust is fulfilled and all that remains being the opportunity and place to physically execute the action.

The spirit of retaliation was part of the Jewish law — an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth.

Mahatma Gandhi once remarked this eye-for-an-eye retaliatory dispensation would in the end result in a blind or eyeless nation.

To the Pharisees, the Romans and other Gentiles had nothing in them to deserve God’s mercy.

Those who justify their indulgence into anger or resentment are opening their hearts to Satan. Bitterness and animosity must have no room in our hearts if we would be at peace with God (Desire of Ages Page 607 paragraph 4).

Restoration of harmony was so critical to Jesus that He went on to say if you are about to give an offering and you remember an unresolved issue, stop giving the offering.

First be reconciled to your brother before you can give an offering to God. Failure to comply with this requirement renders one’s service to God unacceptable and an abomination.

God on His part has abundantly demonstrated this attribute by, for example, dying on behalf of man since the law could not be done away with. He releases sun rays and sends His rain to both good and evil.

He is kind and generous to the unthankful and evil (Luke 6:15). Bless those that curse and do good to those that deal treacherously with you. Put differently, love your enemies and wish them well.

God’s ideal for His children is for them to be perfect as He is perfect. In case one thinks this is a tall order, one writer says God’s requirements are His enablings.

Donald M Baillie buttresses this point when he remarks: “Whatever good there is in our lives and actions though fragmentary is all of God, it was His before it became ours, was Divine grace before it was human achievement, is indeed a matter of God taking up our poor human nature into union with His own divine life making us more truly personal, yet also more disposed to ascribe it all to Him.”

Imagine a family, community, country, continent and planet turned to this divine attribute of loving God supremely, our neighbours as ourselves as well as loving our enemies.

Indeed this would be heaven on earth. George Younce once said: “Give the world a smile each day.” Dawn Shelton is resolved to give his life to mending broken people.

It is from this perspective that Jesus’ gospel revolution is to be understood.

He did not come to do away with God’s law, but to unpack it and illustrate obedience to that law by His own lifestyle.

He often said I came to do my Father’s will and the Father’s will is to preach good news to the meek, bind the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, open prisons to the prisoners, proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord and to comfort the mourners.

This would be Heaven on Earth. You are your brother’s keeper so treat each other as God does.