Happy New Year! Welcome 2013. Another twelve months, fifty-two weeks, three hundred-sixty five days, eight thousand seven hundred and sixty hours, five hundred twenty five thousand- six hundred minutes and three million one hundred fifty three thousand- six hundred seconds. Time for love, fun, grief, anger, happiness, remorse, forgiveness, friendships and so much more. So many possibilities lie ahead of us.
The one ahead of me is continuing The Jeanie/Jesus Project. The last few days I was subject to being mom to five adorable children and wife to a wonderful husband on vacation. Not having a moment alone I knew I would be able to take the time to get back into the swing of things after it became "normal"
I begin with Day 5: Matthew 5:1-26
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. Matthew 5:22
Jesus raises the bar here in Matthew Chapter 5. Anger and unkind words are as serious as murder. Words of these kind can scar a person's spirit and crush their heart. These words are not punishable by prison or death row, however they do need to be brought to Jesus in forgiveness and through God's grace we are forgiven and those hurt will be healed.
How can we stop these verbal attacks from happening?
- Define the deeper heart issue behind those words. (selfishness, jealousy, pride, greed, anger)
- Let the unkind words be unspoken.
With God's help we can show mercy and issue grace. Beginning with ourselves first we can pray for God to give us gentleness and kindness on our tongues.
Day 6: Matthew 5:27-48
The Sermon on the Mount continues with topics of Adultery, Divorce, Oaths and Love. That is a lot to be said in twenty-one verses. All of which is important, yet the words in the last five verses reach everyone, every-time:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48
Jesus keeps us from taking the law into our own hands. By loving and praying for our enemies, we can overcome evil with good. The Pharisees interpreted Leviticus 19:18 as that they should only love those who love in return, and Psalms 139:19-22 and 140:9-11 as meaning that they should hate their enemies. But Jesus says we are to love our enemies, If you love your enemies and treat them well, you will truly show that Jesus is Lord of your life. This is possible only for those who give themselves fully to God, because only he can deliver people from natural selfishness. We must trust in the Holy Spirit to help us show love to those for whom we may not feel love.
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior?