Can’t Sweep It Under the Rug

 MARCH 20

MATTHEW 5:23_Therefore, if thy bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberst that thy brother has ought against thee;

The word altar is translated as God’s Table. This is the sacred table where sacrifices were offered to God. The sacrifices were to be the best you had. God knew if what you offered as a gift was your best, or something you really didn’t want anyway.

Your gift will never be an animal sacrifice. It will be some type of self-sacrifice, because that is always the best you can give. If you come to give your all, dedicating your life as a Jesus follower, you need to be sure there is nothing blocking your dedication. 

The Holy Spirit is a wonderful gift . When Jesus ascended back to His heavenly home, He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell inside you. If you come to Jesus to give your life, but hold on to an old grudge or unsettled argument, you can count on the Holy Spirit to bring it to your remembrance. He won’t allow you to sweep it under the rug. If you do, then you bring damaged goods, not your best. Give God all you have to give – He’ll give you much more in return. 

This is not about you being good enough. Don’t leave me yet. 

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, I want to know how to give You all of myself, teach me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is the altar—He wants all of me!

How Dare He!

MARCH 19

MATTHEW 5:22_and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

The word raca is an insult – to speak to someone with contempt. It can also mean, worthless or good for nothing. Anger is destructive enough, but when name calling is added – it pierces much deeper.

The word fool can be translated as an empty-headed idiot. How easily we toss those words around. Maybe we’d be more careful if we thought in terms of killing the one we inflict.

Jesus has something harsh to say about calling someone a fool – the danger of hell fire. Mercy! Sounds like very serious business! The one who is called the names is in a much better place than the one doing the calling.

There are serious fits thrown now! Who does Jesus think He is? Only the Scribes and Pharisees control Law teachings. How dare He transform the Law to compare murder with how we treat our fellow man!

I believe Jesus wants us to do some heart checking. We have said what is in our heart will eventually come out of our mouth – we can take that to the bank. It never fails. There is enough meanness in the world – it doesn’t need to come from Christians.

PRAYER

Great God, I don’t want to be mean or cruel. Please change my heart so it loves like Jesus. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ has a loving heart—He can give me one!

A Jesus Relationship

MARCH 18

MATTHEW 5:22 _But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment…

Needless to say, there are a lot of tragedies in the world. High on the list is when anger destroys a church congregation. If we all held ourselves liable for our thoughts, words, and actions, we’d be more careful how we speak. Remember, we’re called to be salt to preserve and flavor, not destroy. 

We are all sinners. We all fail from time to time. Hopefully, the more time we spend in a Jesus relationship, the fewer our failures. This includes curbing anger.   

Galatians 6:1, 10 says “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Verse 10, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”

The scales are balanced when the murderer is held accountable for his actions according to the law of the land (judgment), and when the Christian holds himself accountable according to the law of Jesus (mercy).

PRAYER

Kind God, Help me be merciful to my fellow Christians. Help me know I am no better than the one who falls to temptation. When I am victorious over sin it is because of Your power in me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is merciful—He wants me to be!

Ever Felt That Pain?

 MARCH 17

MATTHEW 5:22 _But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment…

Jesus’ explanation of His transformation of the Law begins with but I say unto you. The word but implies a change. The scales have balanced as far as killing and punishment, but if there is more to life than the physical, then there is another way in which to kill someone – anger. Ever felt that pain?

When Jesus refers to your brother, it is not biological, but a fellow human being. Perhaps it particularly means a Christian brother. Anger shown between Christians must be very painful to Jesus. After all, these are the people who claim to be His disciples. The people who are supposed to be salt. The people who are supposed to be light. Even if what they say is right, when it is said in hot tempered anger, it destroys any good which may be done. 

Anger wounds the spirit and is very destructive to the soul of the one it has inflicted. Anger is also destructive to the soul of the one doing the inflicting. This is not just losing your temper. This is malicious, mean anger. To destroy fellow humans with mean-tempered, explosive, anger, is in the category of those who kill.

Once again, life is serious business.

PRAYER

Merciful God, Help me not to be an angry person. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ makes us brothers—He wants me to be patient!

Liable

MARCH 16

MATTHEW 5:21_Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment.

Jesus begins His transformation law list. First on the list is thou shalt not kill. What a great way to begin! Who’s going to question that? This statement should please the entire audience. No shouting of boo or hissing at this statement!

Jesus gains everyone’s approval by beginning with the sixth commandment. Not only would they approve, but they would be feeling good, relaxed, and maybe even a little proud. No guilt feelings over this one. No murderers were in this crowd, because murderers were dealt with promptly.

Jesus continues, whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment. In order for Jesus to be the balance of judgment and mercy there has to be a place for judgment. The word judgment in this passage is translated as liable. That means you are held responsible for your actions. The Law makes it clear that to kill someone carries a judgment.

Jesus sees something beyond killing someone which can carry judgment. Jesus sees us liable for all our actions.

He is prepared to reveal this liability.

PRAYER

Righteous God, I want to be a part of Your multitude who listen for truth. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ understands judgment—He will teach me!