Wednesday 4 July, 2018

Matthew 5:21-26

21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister[b][c] will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’[d] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. 25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

Jesus continues his teaching and addresses the issue of murder. But how relevant is murder to his audience? How relevant is it to us? I can’t say that I have knowingly met a murderer, and I certainly haven’t murdered anyone. But Jesus did what he usually does and makes this relevant to us by saying that being angry at someone is just as bad as murder. That’s how serious disunity is to God.

But more than telling us not to get angry, Jesus asks what if there is any one angry toward us? What if someone has something against you?

Jesus says, if you know or remember that someone has an issue against you, then go immediately and be reconciled to them. Go and make things right between you.

Even if you have prepared to make an offering to God at the altar, stop, and go and be reconciled. Most of us would finish making the offering then go and be reconciled.

But if there is any division, any disunity, Jesus says that the offering can wait, unity is more important and is a requirement before making an offering to God.

It’s not a matter of fixing relationships when it’s convenient. Instead, when you remember it, that is when you deal with it, don’t put it off for anything or anyone, even God himself.

Father, help me not to simply go through the motions in worshipping you, but to remember how important unity between us is to you.

Written by Andrew Martin

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