21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.(F)
To say “Raca” to someone back then meant to call them a stupid idiot. To call someone a fool was to accuse them of having no common sense. In both cases Jesus is saying we should not consider ourselves superior in an argument. To do so is a serious matter.
Jesus understood how anger can weave a web to trap us spiritually. To stay angry and bitter towards others for any reason can consume us and create a situation where what happened is more important than how we handle it. This is why we stay stuck in bitter disputes. How we handle it is more important than what happened. Jesus said get out of the problem and into the solution.
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.
Most bitter disagreements have two sides. We are angry and they are too. Jesus is asking “What can you do to make things better?” In a bitter conflict, as hard as it is, we can usually find something we can do to make things better. A spiritually mature person can dig deep to be the bigger person and offer an olive branch of peace in word or deed even if it isn’t accepted. Sometimes the best thing we can do is be still and let God handle it. We keep our focus on ourselves and ask the Lord to help us be like Him in every situation. The way of the world is to beat your opponent and win. As a disciple of Jesus, reconciliation and peace are more important than winning.
“I)” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
Rev. Walker is the pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church www.emanuelreformedchurch.com
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