**Please be sure to read all around this passage so that you are getting it in context; and as always, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to the understanding that He would have you see. Passage: Matthew 5:21-26
"You have heard it said"..."but I say" was a common form used by rabbi's of the time to further explain scripture. Jesus speaks with authority here when he expounds on the true meaning of the law "Thou shalt not kill." (Murder) He is again pointing his listener's (which includes us today) to the concept of sin starting in the heart. Here he is dealing with the sin of murder, but I think that the true lesson he is trying to get across is "check your heart condition". Jesus takes it to the next level by explaining that if you have anger in your heart, if you curse your neighbor or if you even call them fool you have put yourself in danger of judgement. He then goes on to explain how to deal with this heart condition by explaining the importance of reconciliation. In essence he is saying don't even go to God with your heart problem until you have sought reconciliation with the person you have hurt.
Tough stuff to consider! How often have you had anger in your heart for someone and then "just let it slide away"? When was the last time you hurt someone and then went out of your way to ask for forgiveness?
We struggle with this...it hits to the core of our natural sinful nature. Our pride has such a hard time admitting fault. The psychologist of today would call it "defensiveness". I call it self deceit, lack of remorse, and an inability to see the true sinfulness of sin. We justify our sins. We "okay" them in our minds, which is the purest form of self deceit. How often have you heard this statement within Christian circles...
"We're only human after all".
What are you really saying when you say "I'm only human after all"? Aren't you really saying...
I had no choice in the matter when I mistreated you. I couldn't help myself. Sinful behavior is my natural state of being...therefore YOU should be understanding about how I mistreated you. You should "not let it bother you". You just need to be more understanding.
Do you see how this attitude of the heart can take a sin and end up making it "not your fault"...and even sometimes make it the fault of the one you hurt. Oh how deceitful the heart truly is....
There is hope for us....that hope is Jesus. Study His word...study how he interacted with people. Learn to love His ways and desire in your heart to be more like Him. Know that he is ever ready to forgive you and show mercy. Allow yourself to feel remorse for your hurtful actions and seek reconciliation often and quickly. Check your heart condition, and if it is in need of repair, talk to the Great Physician and he will help you.
Dear Father in Heaven,
Please Lord, please help me to not deceive myself. Lord give me a heart that is quick to forgive and even quicker to ask for forgiveness. Help me to more like Jesus.
Lord, please be with the prayer requests on the prayer list. Lord, you know what is needed in all circumstances and I ask that You do what is needed.
Thank you for all that you provide. Thank you for my family, friends, and church. Help us to all stay safe. Send your Holy Spirit in abundance to us all that we may start to live more like Jesus.
Help me in my interaction with my daughter Lord. Help me to say the right things and be the way you would want me to be.
Be with my cousin and best friend. Lord I know that he is going through a rough spot in his life and I ask that you let him know that he is so thoroughly loved by You and by his family.
Thank you for life Lord. I ask all these things in Jesus name. Amen.