March Like Jesus
… In Our Behavior – Part III
Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:21-26
Key Verse: Matthew 5:22a
“But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment…”
As we studied in yesterday’s devotional, our faith in Jesus transfers the Law, God’s Word, to our hearts.
Today’s passage of scripture is an example of what it means to live out the Law in our hearts. Jesus quotes an Old Testament principle that said all those who commit murder are subject to judgement. Jesus took that principle and said that His followers would be subject to judgement even if they hated a person.
In John’s first epistle, he gives further clarity to this New Testament principle:
Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them. (1 John 3:15)
I hope you can see how important it is to never allow anger toward anyone to grow into hatred. Jesus gives us the key to settling conflicts with people so that we can avoid the judgement describes in our Key Verse for today:
“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17)
Jesus knew that bitterness and hatred could grow in anyone that does not go to the person who offended them and talk it out. Even if this does not change anything, we can walk away knowing that we have prevented hatred from being in our hearts. This was so important to Jesus that He told His followers that they should leave worship so they can reconcile with another:
“If you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” (Matthew 5:23-24)
If you read the New Testament and take note of how often it speaks of God’s people having good relationships, then you would see how important this is to God.
Surely this is one of the most important “marching orders” that Jesus gave: love one another and settle all conflicts quickly and kindly.
Are you marching like Jesus?
Father, help me to set my pride and my “rights” aside and so I can reconcile with those I interact with in this life. In Jesus’s Name I pray, amen.