For 2000 years we’ve been living in the final chapter of an amazing story. Before it ends, Jesus wants us to get positioned for what’s next even as we live in the undeniable context of what’s now.
For instance, we’re tempted to feel pretty good if we don’t kill or commit adultery. Not bad, eh Lord? The religious folk of Jesus’ time said the same thing because they led morally correct lives according to the law. Don’t kid yourself, Jesus advises. Claiming righteousness now puts us in a bad position for the dawning kingdom. The truth is we’re ALL sinners in need of forgiveness. ‘Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick?’ Jesus asks later, ‘I’m after mercy, not religion’ (Matt 9: 12 – 13).
In light of this, it’s better to settle our differences than to maintain conflicts. Reconciliation is key; that’s why it’s a sacrament! It’s a visible sign of the inward reality of the kingdom. But to claim it, we have to practice it. Only by living in forgiveness do we experience it.
The Scripture (Matthew 5: 23-24) Teaching about Anger
Jesus said, ‘So what does this look like in practice? Well, if you are on your way to offer your worship to God and you remember that you have offended a sister or brother and you haven’t sorted it out with them yet, then put everything on hold, and go and make peace straight away. Get your relationship back on good terms first, and then you are free to come and worship God’.
In what ways do you tend to see yourself as a pretty good person? How does ‘self-righteousness’ teach you about the deeper reality of sin we all live with? Make conscious choices today. See the difference between what’s passing and what’s important. In the light of the forgiveness given to you, choose to be forgiving.
Go from here as effective disciples of Jesus Christ. Choose the life-giving way.
In the hurt of resentment, choose to forgive.
In the numbness of disappointment, choose to be patient.
In the roar of anger, choose the peaceful way.
In the conflict of different directions, choose the faithful way.
In the heartbreaking, deadening situation, choose life.
Choose life, and you will be an effective follower of Jesus Christ. Choose life, and you will be an effective member of this faith community.
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