Enemies are one thing, brothers are another.
Enemies Are All About.
The following is a WARNING to Christians, those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. While considering the state of our nation I believe it is a timely warning, and it comes from the lips of our Lord. Listen and avoid the judgement of God’s enemies.
Can it get any worse? It seems like people are being herded in different directions. Because they are swept away by strong opinions and loyalties they move further and further apart. Then they become encamped with others of like mind. Here they find assurance of being right and certain that the rest are wrong. Today ideologies divide nations, morality is subjective and authority is maintained through deception, coercion or force. Selfishness demands its way and hate gives birth to violence. And I haven’t mentioned the ill winds of religions. Sadly, the history of mankind offers little hope for change.
Christians are called to be different. Oh, we will have our enemies, but we are told to love them. Listen to Jesus’ words regarding anger, slander or contempt of our brother. I came across these verses beginning to study the phrase “if you” found in the New Testament. First was Satan’s three “if you”s while tempting Jesus. Not until Matthew chapter 5 did these words come from Jesus. He was talking about bringing gifts to God. The Jews brought their sacrifices to the temple, we offer our gifts in various ways. The question is: Under what conditions are they acceptable? When are we received?
Do We Treat Brothers as Enemies Treat us?
“It was said of the ancients, ‘You shall not murder, (Exodus 20:13) anyone who murders shall be subject to judgement,’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother will be subject to judgement. Again, anyone who says to a brother, ‘Raca,’ (Aramaic term of contempt, slanderous) is answerable to the court. (Sanhedrin) And anyone who says, ‘You fool! will be in danger of the fires of hell.” (Gehenna) (Matthew 5:21-22)
First of all, are we not brothers and sisters born again into the family of God? Therefore, these words apply especially to us. Jesus warns us of “judgement before the highest court and being in danger of the fires of hell?” Thank God, there is a remedy!
Mending Bridges that Fell Down.
“Therefore, If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the alter. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” (vs 23-24) The ways of God’s kingdom are simple to understand, yet how easy it is to get caught up in the ways of this world. (Reread paragraph two.) We know where those ways will lead them. (reread “It was said of the ancients……..”) Jesus is speaking to brothers and sisters. He is warning us to not be like the world.
Mend the bridges, and then return to the altar where you left your gift. Then you and your gift will be received.
Now you know what Jesus’ first “if you” is in the Bible.