Matt 5:21-26 Sermon on the Mount Con’t
Talk about OUCH! It’s this chapter.
Often we think we are justified in “righteous anger”…and sometimes justified in not so righteous anger… but this passage of scripture says, in no uncertain terms, that we are not ever justified.
While this passage uses the term “brother” God does not limit this to mean our actual siblings nor does He mean only fellow Christians. Likewise “Neighbor” isn’t just your associates but the entire population.
Christ died for EVERYONE, therefore it is to everyone that Christ speaks of.
“…for the follower of Jesus there can be no limit as to who is his neighbor, except as his Lord decides.”
It’s easy to gloss over this passage and say, “Of course I will never commit murder!” but we forget this passage also speaks of anger.
“Anger is always a direct attack on the brother’s life, for it refuses to let him live and aims at his destruction. Jesus will not accept the common distinction between righteous indignation and unjustifiable anger. The disciple must be entirely innocent of anger, because anger is an offense against both God and his neighbor. Every idle word which we think so little of betrays our lack of respect for our neighbor, and shows that we place ourselves on a pinnacle above him and value our own lives higher than his.”
But there is something even worse than our anger.
Bonhoeffer interprets the Bible as saying when we slander our brother, “We are passing judgment on him and that is murder.”
When we act in this manner: in anger and/or insulting those Christ died for, we are hurting our fellowship with Christ.
When we have anger, resentment, hatred, unforgiveness, or unrepentance in our hearts we cannot fully engage in relationship with Christ for we are hurting those He loves. Our prayers, worship and even our service are not done in the right spirit and are not pleasing to God.
“For the Christian, worship cannot be divorced from the service of the brethren…If we despise our brother our worship is unreal, and it forfeits every divine promise. When we come before God with hearts full of contempt and unreconciled with our neighbors, we are, both individually and as a congregation, worshipping an idol.”
That’s pretty harsh- worshiping an Idol? Really?
But yes, when we place our emotions above those of our fellow man we are worshiping the idol of SELF. It says, what I feel and think matters more than what God says about ALL HIS CREATION. We are placing ourselves as judge and taking Christ off his throne!
But sometimes we are the ones wronged. Why should we have to make things right? Shouldn’t the other (especially if they are Christian) come to us to seek forgiveness?
You can’t control what others do. You are, however, responsible to God for what YOU DO.
Therefore, it doesn’t matter if they wronged you. Try to make peace. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18 NIV
“This is a hard way, but it is the way Jesus requires if we are to follow him. It is a way which brings much personal humiliation and insult, but it is indeed the way to him, our crucified Brother [Christ], and therefore a way of grace abounding.”
In this passage we are warned to make peace before we go before the judgment seat.
As long as we have breath, there is an opportunity to try and right any wrongs.
“The humanity of the Son of God grants us the gift of a brother. May the disciple of Jesus think upon this grace aright! To serve our brother, to please him, to allow him his due and to let him live, is the way of self-denial, the way of the cross. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. That is the love of the Crucified. Only in the cross of Christ do we find the fulfillment of the law.”
When I read this chapter I jotted down these things thoughts regarding myself and others.
I must lie down:
What do you need to lie down?