“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
Matthew 5 : 21 – 22
This passage starts off so easily, don’t murder. We can all get behind not killing people, but then Jesus takes it on a whole new level, which he is really good at doing. We are now told that if we are angry with anyone, we will be judged. We have all been angry with someone at some point in our lives. It is interesting how quickly the punishment side of this gets worse, but the offenses themselves don’t seem to necessarily be getting worse.
While this might seem like a lot, there is something else to see here. Harbouring anger against someone is not something we should not be practicing. Yes, it is something we do, but the key is to notice when are doing this. While we might sometimes feel like our anger or frustration is justified, we need to remember that we worship a God who preaches love and forgiveness.
This might seem like a drastic passage, but I think that Jesus is getting our attention here to let us know how serious this is. Alternatively, we are invited to seek reconciliation in all things. We have been forgiven, so what is to prevent us from seeking that same reconciliation and forgiveness with those who we are angry with?
Prayer: Forgiving God, thank you for teaching us the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation. Thank you for forgiving us, and loving us, even when we go wrong and don’t follow what you have taught us. Help us to seek reconciliation and forgiveness in all of our relationships. Amen.
Action: Practice forgiveness and reconciliation