February 11

Matthew 5:21-26

“You have heard that it was said…, ‘You shall not murder’; But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgement…” vss. 20b-21a

Imagine how the religious leaders of Judaism felt as word of Jesus’ teaching ministry traveled through the country. They had spent their lives defending the Law of Moses as God’s blueprint for living, and Jesus in his very first public pronouncements made a claim for an authority beyond that of Moses. He tells the crowd that he has a new teaching, one that goes beyond rigid obedience to the Law, and introduces new standards for those who serve him. From now on everything will be focused on reconciliation and unity. Nothing will be more important than relationships within the community of faith. Not even anger should be permitted to drive a wedge between believers. It’s obvious that living the way Jesus described is a huge challenge. Most of us know how easy it is for anger to flare up and increase tensions both in households and in congregations. It’s impossible to avoid–but when it does occur Jesus challenges us to imagine and carry out strategies that address it. Every incident is to be followed by concrete steps to resolve the issue and restore harmony. Those who live in Christ will be quick both to apologize and forgive, and will regularly go the second mile in their effort to bring healing in relationships. It’s not a law, it’s just how living in the Spirit works!

Thought for the Day: When I am angry, what do I do?

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