Face it: it’s getting more and more difficult to keep your cool these days. Between the increasing rudeness, aggressiveness and selfishness on full display out there, it doesn’t take much to rattle us, or even push us over the edge. Add to that the political rancor and decline of any kind of morality, kindness and values in society, and we all may want to just curl up in the fetal position until Jesus comes. But remember, we live in a fallen world, and we’ve been warned that it would be like this as the clock ticks down to the Last Day. We are supposed to better. We are supposed to be the lifeline to this dying world. We are supposed to be the example of love, grace and humility—we’re supposed to be like Jesus. So here to test how well we’re doing is teacher and author of the book “Broken yet Blessed,” Kathi McCarty.
Table Talk NotesCan you pass the IQ Test? Click To Tweet
Mt 5:21-26 | “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. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
The Irritability Quotient Test: A modified anger quotient test
You plug in your new appliance and it doesn’t work.
You’re overcharged by a repairman who has you over a barrel.
Your car stalls at a light, and people are honking, yelling obscenities or making obscene gestures.
You’re on your lunch hour, grabbing just a few groceries for supper, and someone cuts in front of you at the checkout with a full cart of groceries.
The pastor drones on and on and on… service runs late and you’ve got a roast in the oven.
Jesus addresses the heart
v21: “You have heard it said… BUT I tell you….”
Jesus did not contradict the Law, but fulfilled it.
Matt 5:17-18 | “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.)
Jesus is holding his disciples to a higher standard than conformity to rules.
Jesus was addressing the difference between the letter of the law and the spirit behind it.
Forgiveness and reconciliation begin in the heart.
Forgiveness is an act of worship.
Forgiveness/reconciliation conquer revenge and resentment.
Forgiveness begins in the heart
- Our body (mouth) will never go where our mind/heart have not already been.
- Two of the greatest insults to teach a lesson.
Raca: to be stupid/empty headed, worthless. A word of contempt – root word “to spit”
- Fool – crook or a liar/unbeliever (casting doubt on one’s moral & spiritual standing)
- Anger is not a sin – how we respond to it can be.
Ps 4:4 | “In your anger, do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts & be silent.”
Eph 4:26 | “Be angry, but sin not.”
Anger is worthy of hell???
“..worthy of hell… go to hell (Gehenna)….” a place of destroyed reputation; a place of judgment.
The valley of Hinnon was notorious because Ahaz introduced fire worship and child sacrifice there
2 Chron 28:1-4 | Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done, but he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel. He even made metal images for the Baals, and he made offerings in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom and burned his sons as an offering, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. And he sacrificed and made offerings on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree.
Josiah ordered it to be a cursed place
2 Kg 23:4-10 | And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second order and the keepers of the threshold to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron and carried their ashes to Bethel. And he deposed the priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to make offerings in the high places at the cities of Judah and around Jerusalem; those also who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and the moon and the constellations and all the host of the heavens. And he brought out the Asherah from the house of the Lord, outside Jerusalem, to the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron and beat it to dust and cast the dust of it upon the graves of the common people. And he broke down the houses of the male cult prostitutes who were in the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the Asherah. And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had made offerings, from Geba to Beersheba. And he broke down the high places of the gates that were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on one’s left at the gate of the city. However, the priests of the high places did not come up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, but they ate unleavened bread among their brothers. And he defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, that no one might burn his son or his daughter as an offering to Molech.
It later became Gehenna – a garbage dump.
Jesus was giving a visual- a heart that holds on to anger looks like a garbage dump.
Progression of judgment: court of law, supreme court of law, God’s court of law!
Forgiveness as an act of worship
“Forgiveness is often inconvenient and uncomfortable. It requires time we think we don’t have and dealing with pain we’d like to ignore.” John Maxwell
We make time for things that are truly important to us. We address pain when we believe someone else caused it… both are issues of the heart.
Matt 7:3-5 – Removing the speck from our brother’s eye when we’re walking around with a log in our own.
John 4:24 – Worshipping in spirit AND truth
The truth about anger
- James 1:20 “…for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”
- Ecc 7:9 Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart (bossom) of fools.
- Prov 15:18 “a hot tempered man stirs up strife but the slow to anger pacifies contention.”
- Prov 19:11 “A man’s discretion (wisdom) makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression (offense)”
- Rom 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome (master) evil with good.”
Forgiveness uproots revenge
There is an urgency expressed in v 25.
Jesus understood that conflict and anger can escalate quickly into an all-out war. War kills.
War tends to cause people to draw up sides…..
More than a few churches have split over unresolved conflict & anger which led to revenge and resentment…..and casualties.
The greatest casualty is to our own soul, and the potential for a bitter root judgment to take hold.
Continual unforgiveness leads to bitter root judgment and colors our assessments of every aspect of life
Cultivating a heart of forgiveness
“To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one bee” ~Wm Walton~
We forgive best when we remember all of what Christ has forgiven in us. Click To Tweet
Ps 103 | “… who pardons ALL your iniquities….”
Is 43:25 | “…who blots out ALL your sins and remembers them no more…”
Lk 23:34 | “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they’re doing.”
Mt 6:14 | “For if you forgive men….your Father will forgive you.”
What does forgiveness look like?
I will not dwell on this incident/offense.
I will not bring this incident up & use it against you.
I will not talk to others about this incident.
I will not allow this incident to stand between us or hinder our personal relationship (where appropriate).
Mt 6:12, 14-15 | …and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors… For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
1 Cor 13:4-7 | Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Eph 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
From The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict ~ Ken Sande ~
Are you struggling to forgive someone?
Do you harbor anger in your heart over a situation or a person?
Have you truly grasped the great forgiveness you have received from Christ?