Matthew 5:21-37 (click for full reading)
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. –Matthew 5:23-24
(Click on the title above to listen to the sermon)
The thought of working in the garden seems so far off right now. We are in the midst of a very cold season here in Minnesota. But imagine the sunshine, the warm air, and the soil beneath your fingers. Have you ever tended a garden? A strong harvest is attained by continually tending your garden, which means tilling the soil, pulling weeds and watering. The same thing can be said for our relationships with family, friends and co-workers. We need to continue to tend these relationships, make amends when appropriate, and offer forgiveness when needed.
The Gospel reading for February 16th was Matthew 5: 21-37. Jesus is preaching in the famous Sermon on the Mount. One of his decrees was not only should you not murder but you also should not be angry with a brother or sister. Jesus does not abolish the law of the Old Testament but rather takes the law one step further.
Jesus sees anger, especially anger with a Christian brother or sister, as getting in the way of a right relationship with God. By reconciling wrongs and finding a place for forgiveness, a space in your heart will be open for a relationship with God.
Questions to ponder or discuss
1.When is the last time you were angry? More importantly, what did you do about it?
2.When you are wrong, do you make amends to the person you have wronged? Do you wait to make amends or do it immediately?
3.What relationships in your life need some tending? How are these unresolved differences affecting your relationship with God?
4.What are healthy ways to express your anger?
Jesus Christ is the ultimate reconciler and we can find great hope and peace that Jesus died to atone for the sins of the world. What relationships in your life need reconciliation? This week, challenge yourself to make amends when you are wrong and to offer forgiveness to those who have hurt you. This practice will bring about great freedom in your life. Blessings on your week!
Prayer for the week
Help me express anger in healthy ways, O Lord, that it might not destroy me or others. Give me the courage to go to someone with whom I am angry and repair the relationship. Amen.
Luther Seminary Student