21 “You have heard what was said to people who lived long ago. They were told, ‘Do not commit murder. (Exodus 20:13) Anyone who murders will be judged for it.’ 22 But here is what I tell you. Do not be angry with your brother. Anyone who is angry with his brother will be judged. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ must stand trial in the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire in hell. 23 “Suppose you are offering your gift at the altar. And you remember that your brother has something against you. 24 Leave your gift in front of the altar. First go and make peace with your brother. Then come back and offer your gift. 25 “Suppose someone has a claim against you and is taking you to court. Settle the matter quickly. Do it while you are still with him on your way. If you don’t, he may hand you over to the judge. The judge may hand you over to the officer. And you may be thrown into prison. 26 What I’m about to tell you is true. You will not get out until you have paid the very last penny!
Wow God’s standards are high! This passage certainly shows the importance God places on being reconciled with those we have grievances with ie. sort it with them before coming before me in my house. The Scripture also asks us as believers to take the initiative in regards to settling differences. Not only this, but do it quickly before things get out of hand.
Even the most mature of Christians would grapple with this passage of Scripture! Let’s face it most believers don’t go around committing murder but who doesn’t get angry at times? In anger, words that can kill may be used. It is possible to really wound someone with the words that come out our mouths and for this reason we face judgement. Often things are said in the heat of the moment that can really belittle and damage another person. The effects go way beyond what we ever intended. Serious stuff indeed, that is why I think it is liken it to murder. Such a challenging passage because when you are angry it can be all consuming and hard to think ahead to possible consequences.
Dear God, please help me to patient and not hurt others when I am angry. Please also help me to quickly settle differences with others, even if I didn’t cause the issue. Amen.
Written by Ainslie Woods