Read Matthew 5:21-26
If you’re keeping up with this series, you’ll remember that, yesterday we learned how Jesus came, not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. What an incredible lesson! This allows us to look at the Old Testament through a whole new lens. You’ll begin to see writers foreshadowing the coming Messiah!
Our reading today kicks off a series of teaching where Jesus affirms the law but takes it a step further. They all start with “You have heard that it was said…” and goes into “but I tell you…”. Here, Jesus is both fulfilling the law and encouraging people to take next steps in their faith.
People were being encouraged to not only fulfill the law as it was originally written but to also consider the deeper issue behind the law.
Today, we read about anger.
Jesus begins by telling people that, while they were told not to murder, they should also get control of their anger as that is the root issue.
I have never murdered anyone. However, I do struggle with anger.
Over the past several years, I have been on a journey to address my anger.
Through my personal experience, I have found that anger can be bad but it’s almost worse when it resonates. I think about when I’m cooking burgers and put cheese on top and watch it melt around the patty. As with our anger, when we sit and let it really resonate, it can and will surround us.
The second half of our reading has to do with reconciliation. If you have wronged someone, in the context of your anger, Jesus is clear in saying that reconciling with that person is first priority:
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that you brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift here in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Settle matters quickly with your adversary…”
Your anger has implications. It can hurt people…deeply. How quick are you to get ahead of the resonation by making it right with those who you have hurt?
It’s almost ironic that I’ve been on this anger journey while experiencing parenting. There have been times where I have had to go to our 5-year-old son and apologize for my lack of patience that day. Now, he probably wasn’t thinking about it but I need him to know that I am working on becoming better. I never want my anger to resonate and the pain that I can cause to resonate in the hearts of people.
As you think over your life, is there anyone that you need to make amends with? Does someone have something against you that you need to make right?
What can you do today to begin to make amends and control your anger and the damage that it causes?