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home : religion : religion May 27, 2019

3/24/2019 12:11:00 AM
Get Into The Solution
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is  10% what happens to you and  90% how you react to it.'

Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 
10% what happens to you and 
90% how you react to it.'

Rev. Susan Smith Walker
Emanuel Reformed Church

As people of faith, we have spiritual resources to help us live in peace with others, and we need to use them in times when anger rises up between family members, friends, and co-workers. Personality conflicts, clashes in opinion, different perspectives, bad timing, competing values, character defects, and the accumulation of emotional baggage between people can create bitter disagreements, anger, and hard feelings.

When we are angry at someone many times our focus is on what they have said or done. We want them to get what they deserve for hurting us. We want to hear them say they were wrong. We want to win the argument. Until we do we will give them the cold shoulder and try to turn other people against them. This approach is like quicksand. The more we strike back in anger the deeper we sink into a negative state of mind and spiritual paralysis. Jesus tells us how we handle our anger is very important to him.

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Matthew 5:21-24

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.

Romans 8:37

“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

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