February 15

Matthew 5:21-26

“But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.” vs. 22

Six times in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus contrasts the teachings of the law with his own comments on similar subjects. Some say that he’s plugging the loopholes in existing commandments by making them even more strict. But a closer reading shows us that this isn’t his intention at all. Jesus is concerned about relationships, about how we treat the people around us in the course of daily living. Generally, these are matters that are not covered by the law, e.g. there is no law against anger, or insults, or saying that folks are fools. We can do any of those things without worrying about whether we’re going to be thrown into prison. Politicians do these things all the time–no charges are ever brought. But if we’re at all concerned about walking in the Way of Jesus, we simply won’t act this way. We won’t be angry, or insult, or call someone a fool. Instead we will speak kindly, hold our tempers, and always guard the dignity of others. Will there be consequences if we choose not to live like this? Well, we’ll likely not go to hell, but we will destroy our most precious relationships, and they are the essence of life in the kingdom.

Thought for the Day: Words of mine that have ruined a relationship.

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