Matthew 5:21-24 (ESV)
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Sometimes Jesus seemed a little harsh. I think that in this case, He was illustrating what He said elsewhere, that if you cannot love your brother who you can see, how can you love the God that you cannot see. Jesus was really big into relationship. He explained all the commandments in terms of loving one another. He frequently chastised the Scribes and Pharisees for making life harder on the people.
The thing that I think we need to remember is that regardless of what our preferences are, regardless of how we think we are obedient, or holy, or whatever, we are called to Love. Love God with all our hearts, minds, strength, and souls. And to love our neighbors as ourselves.
So Let's practice love. Love our God, love our families, love our neighbors. Do we need to leave our gifts at the altar? Do we need to do some soul-searching?
Let's think about how we can best love people. Even people who make our blood boil. Let's look at the fact that we are responsible to our God, and try to please Him out of our gratitude for His love.
After all, we love because He first loved us!
by Virgil Stripes