“Three Little Words”

On May 26, Pastor Jim preaches on Matthew 5:21-26.

21 “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.’ 22 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. 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. 25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

“Well, me and Jesus got our own thing goin’
Me and Jesus got it all worked out.
Me and Jesus got our own thing goin’
Me and Jesus got it all worked out.
We can’t afford any fancy preachin’
We can’t afford any fancy church.
We can’t afford any fancy singin’
But you know Jesus got a lot of poor people out doin’ his work.”
(Tom T. Hall, 1972)

Even though I’m in the preachin’ biz, I can’t help but like this song. I think of my faith as personal, even private. I’ve been loving Jesus a long time. It’s an intimate relationship. You might say that we’ve got our own thing goin’.

However, Jesus made it plain that there is a direct connection between our relationship with God and our relationship with other people. Each Sunday we pray the prayer He taught us, and in that prayer we ask God to forgive us as we forgive others. Yikes! Do we really want God to be as unforgiving toward us as we sometimes have been toward others?

In verses 23-24 He gives instructions to a worshiper in the process of making an offering to God. “When you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.”

There’s no way around itWhen we tangle with other people, it impacts our relationship with God. Consider the words of the old preacher who wrote the first epistle of John: “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” (Chapter 4:20)

Again…yikes!

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