In this week's wonderful passage, Matthew 5:21-26, Jesus emphasizes the importance of reconciliation in a BIG way. He steps up the bar, suggesting that to simply NOT murder your fellow man or woman is not enough for the people of God. We need to not be angry with them.
The grudge? It's gotta go.
The unresolved ick? Time to resolve it.
The "I'm not angry, I'm removed and indifferent, and that's okay..."? Yeah... no.
The "rightful" chip on our shoulder? Buh-bye.
We need reconciliation. It's not simply enough to not do harm... we need to go and do good... to do restorative, loving, life-giving and affirming work. (Hmmm sounds like Jesus!) This is the calling of the children of God.
Jesus even goes so far as to suggest that if we have a relationship that needs reconciling, we go take care of the matter promptly first, and then we can get back to offering up ourselves to God, etc. It sounds pretty important to me if it's so important to Jesus that He suggests our altar time should be put on hold to go engage in some reconciliation. So... it's a big deal! We can't get to loving and productive things if anger is in the way.
PoC - as we pray through this passage today, let us pray with Psalm 139:23 in mind: "Search me, God and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts."
Are you angry?
Do you have unresolved conflict?
Is there some reconciliation that the Holy Spirit is prompting you to attend to?
Let us pray today that collectively, we can all respond to the Holy Spirit's prompting, and engage in the loving and restorative acts that we are called to do. Let us pray that we can respond as Jesus suggested: quickly. Let us pray today that as a result of our obedience (to reconcile, to let the anger go, and to replace it with God-generated love) men, women, boys, and girls will come to know Jesus for who He really is as a result of our obedience.
Anger/grudges/conflict/meanness/bitterness etc. can be so easy to hold on to. We can mistakenly think of it as some kind of right, or some kind of prize, or some kind of badge of honor. Yet, at the end of the day, anger is not fun. It zaps our energy. It steals our focus. And it accomplishes nothing for the Kingdom of God. Sometimes we like to think being angry accomplishes a lot... that it fixes and changes circumstances. But it does not.
I think prayer accomplishes things for God's Kingdom. And love. So let's start there.
Thank you for leading with love, and leading us to be children of God who model being slow to anger and quick to love our neighbors. Please draw to mind anger that needs to be let go, and relationships that need to be restored. Please help us surrender to Your commands quickly and whole-heartedly. Please help replace anger with true love. Please provide healing to the hurts we were angry about as we trust You in this step of obedience. We love you and we trust that nothing is wasted. We ask You to use all of this to draw people closer to You than ever before. Show us Your glory.
Pray loud. Pray bold. Don't wait your turn.
Join us for prayer at 9:30am on Sunday, prior to worship at 10am.
See you Sunday.