Hands that Shed Innocent Blood
1. Solomon had warned his son about the evil use of his body parts—body language really IS a language and God knows how to read it! (vs. 12-14)
2. Now he speaks about 7 sins God hates—sins that incorporate different parts of the body—facial expression; lying tongue; and now hands used to shed blood.
THE SIN OF MURDER
1. After talking about a proud look or a lying tongue, we have all been convicted. Now Solomon speaks of the sin of murder. We can all join in on a collective sigh of relief—for none of us have ever committed murder!
2. The 10 commands state, “Thou shalt not kill.” We feel pretty good about that commandment—for none of us have ever killed anyone. We are not guilty. (We might not fare so well against some of the other commandments: covet; bear false witness; etc…)
3. However, the sin of murder makes us all feel a litter safer… less convicted… innocent.
4. While the expression “hands that shed innocent blood” does refer to the sin of murder, the Lord expanded its meaning in Matthew 5:21-22.
a. Killing puts a man in danger of the judgment. Anger at a brother without a cause also puts a person in danger of the judgment!
b. Both sins have the same penalty… both sins are the same KIND of sins.
c. They differ only in degree, not in kind.
• The sin of anger is like a sin in seed form.
• If allowed to grow and fester that sin of anger will manifest itself in various ways… (Bulging blood vessels in the neck; insults; pushing; shoving; hitting; even shooting or stabbing!)
• The ultimate demonstration of the sin of anger is murder.
5. Murder begins in the heart. (Matt. 15:19)
a. Murder is a sin of the heart—just like every other sin.
b. The hands will only do what the heart/mind tells them to do.
c. Hands don’t shed innocent blood all by themselves.
d. The premeditation takes place in the mind and heart long before the blood is ever shed.
e. Notice that the Lord says that evil thoughts proceed from the heart. The mind thinks evil… and if that mind is not controlled by the Holy Spirit, it has the capacity to think the ultimate evil—committing murder.
f. Thus the murder is actually incubated in the heart.
g. The Lord Himself indicates that there is a link between anger or hatred in the heart and hands that shed innocent blood.
• Cain was angry (very wroth) (Gen. 4:5)
• Cain slew his brother (Gen. 4:8)
• The first record of an angry man in the Bible also turns out to be the first record of a murderer!
• From that point on, there are lots of examples of murderers in the Bible!
• Esau planned to kill Jacob; Joseph’s brothers planned to kill Joseph;
6. Gal. 5:19-21 – the source of this hatred is fallen human nature.
a. The potential for the outbreak of all of these sins resides in us all… and in our kids.
b. Murder is the fruit of strife… anger… wrath… hatred… envies…
c. Each of them can potentially result in murder.
d. Think of the case of the plastic surgeon in Methuen who shot his wife’s lover in the hospital room. His envy led to anger to hatred to murder—or manslaughter… the Lord knows. Prior to this, he was a mild mannered, upright model citizen!
7. Probably none of us here will ever actually commit murder. BUT to prevent us from being guilty of the same kind of sin, we must guard our hearts.
a. It is VERY like that our hearts might be filled with anger… hatred… envy… vengeance… wrath… strife…greed… pride…
b. Each of those sins of the heart could be translated into physical action if we are not careful to guard our hearts.
c. Psalm 55:21 – David speaks of some men with WAR in their heart. If that war is not resolved, it could lead to a physical war with the hands… no longer just in the heart!
d. Prov. 27:4 – these sins of the heart can manifest themselves in outrageous ways… and we might even shock and scare ourselves of what we are capable of doing or saying…
e. Prov. 19:19 – a man who does not guard against wrath will eventually pay a price…
• The sin of anger results in punishment…
• There may be serious consequences to our sin of anger—even if it doesn’t lead to murder.
• It could lead to getting fired… breaking up your marriage… ruining your testimony for the Lord…
f. I Pet. 4:15 – Christians are warned against the sin of murder—because it is possible.
How To Prevent the Sin of Anger and What It Might Lead To
• Psychology says that we should VENT our anger… reenact difficult situations… have rap sessions in which we yell at people to let off some steam… punch a tree…or a pillow…or perhaps you need a prescription!
• The message in the Bible is quite different:
1. Cease from anger!
a. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. (Ps. 37:8)
• This is a command—and places the responsibility on us!
• If we get angry, it is our own fault. It is not to be blamed on our second grade teacher or our wicked step mother!
b. The Bible says do NOT express your anger! Cease!
• Cease: to let drop, abandon, relax, refrain, forsake; to let go; to refrain, let alone; to be quiet
• Anger in the heart is NOT like steam under pressure. It does not need to be vented like a volcano.
• Venting anger is simply TRAINING ourselves to be an angry person and to express our anger in open and violent ways
c. In reality, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the anger is GONE. If we confess our sin of anger, it is gone… gone… gone!
2. Control your anger – be slow to anger
a. Prov.16:32 – the man who is SLOW to anger = the man who controls his spirit.
• It IS possible to control one’s spirit… to control one’s temper.
• The fruit of the Spirit is temperance—self control!
• Jas. 1:19 – slow to wrath—a command!
b. It isn’t easy to control one’s temper—but by God’s grace and God’s power we can…we have the power of the resurrection available to us!
c. We all blow up from time to time… and we will never eradicate anger altogether. But we can learn to control it… or rather to allow God to control our hearts…
3. Ignore the insults of others – Prov. 19:11 – we need to learn to ignore the transgressions of others… the hurtful things they say and do…
a. We don’t need to always have the last word…
b. We don’t have to retaliate for every barb thrown our way…
c. Learn to turn the other cheek…
4. Avoid angry words—for they lead to angry action—Prov. 15:1 – a soft answer turneth away wrath.
a. This wrath speaks of the wrath of the other person.
b. However, in an argument… wrath leads to more wrath on both sides.
c. God’s answer to anger is STOP… resolve issues that lead to anger… and worse…
5. Avoid the rowdy crowd – Prov. 22:24-25 – make no friendship with a furious man… with someone who lacks self control.
a. Why? Because it might rub off on you!
b. Because after a while those uncontrolled outbursts of his might begin to sound normal…
c. Because you will learn his ways… (It is passed on from generation to generation—this is an example of a sin that is passed on from the father to the third and fourth generations!)
d. Kids learn how to deal with situations at home. How do you make your point? Throw a lamp? Kick the door? Punch a hole in the wall?
e. Angry behavior is learned.
6. Deal with the upsetting situations each day – Eph. 4:26 – Let not the sun go down upon your wrath… for it might lead to something worse tomorrow!
a. To control your anger, deal with the issues that cause the anger!
b. Avoiding the issues and sweeping it under the rug only leads to frustration and more anger…
7. Those are all helpful passages which give us some common sense wisdom in dealing with wrath and anger—and the violence they could lead to. But the real cure is to be filled with the Holy Spirit!
a. Gal. 5:16 – walk in the Spirit and ye shall NOT fulfill the lusts of the flesh—listed in vs.19-20—which include hatred, wrath, strife, envy, and murder—bloody hands and the heart sins that lead to it!
b. Gal. 5:22-23 – temperance—self control—we can either be controlled by anger or by the Holy Spirit!
• It is a choice—whom we choose to serve—the Lord or the flesh!
• No believer is the poor, innocent victim of an overactive anger gland!
• We have a choice whether we want to yield our members to God or not. God has plenty of power to enable us to have victory.
• Anger does not have to be a life controlling sin for the believer. The cross is the answer.
Prov. 25:28 – He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
♦ There is nothing more pitiful than a man who cannot control himself.
♦ The prisons are FULL of such men—and women…
♦ A city that is without walls is a city that cannot defend itself… the smallest army can successfully attack!
♦ A man who cannot control his anger is also easily attacked… the smallest little irritation sends him off into a tailspin…
♦ I know people who cannot control their temper… they are to be pitied.
♦ A lack of control over our temper can ruin a life… lead to destruction…