Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.” (Matthew 5:20-26)
He was born from God’s love. He dwelt among us because of God’s love. He gave His earthly life because of that love.
But that is not enough, is it? It’s not enough to make us follow Him in love, day in and day out. It’s not enough for us to not only follow the ten commandments but to interiorize the love that drives us to follow them.
That’s so apparent isn’t it? It’s so apparent in the anger that seems to engulf the world of 2020. It’s not different than the anger that permeated the world in which Jesus walked but it is far more overt today. Anger is flamed. Anger is practiced. Anger has become a badge of honor for some.
Yet, so many who are angry call themselves followers of Christ. How? Where is the great divide that separates His words from their acts? Jesus points to the heart as the seat of desire and control. Unless forbidden desires are eradicated, the heart grows corrupt.
Jesus offered us a view into God’s heart. God’s very essence is a unity of love – three persons, one nature. We are made in God’s image, and we are made to live forever in union with God. But so too are our brothers and sisters. If we have done anything to wound the union of love with those around us, then we must repair the breach. In fact, it is so important to God (and so important for us) that God will not accept our “offering” if we have consciously wounded the unity with those around us.
God has forgiven us and he calls us to extend mercy and forgiveness towards those who cause us harm and grief. In the cross of Jesus, we see the supreme example of love and the power for overcoming evil. Only God’s love and grace can set our hearts and minds free from the tyranny of wounded pride and spiteful revenge.
Jesus teaches us this about anger so that we can not only learn to forgive and love as God loves us, but to also learn how to humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness. If we are truly to be the men and women that we are called to be, then we must learn how to give in to love, rather than anger.
Prayer of The Day
Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. We thank you for the opportunity to go out and love others as you love us. Lord, help us to never let go of you, and to always follow your ways. Help us be slow to anger and quick to love. We ask this all through Christ our Lord.
Jesus always brings us back to the human heart. Actions flow from decisions made in the heart, even if not immediately evident. When we cultivate a sentiment in our heart – be it good or evil – it will eventually find ways of coming to fruition. “If you are angry do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger or you will give the devil a chance” (Ephesians 4:26). Any unwillingness to forgive leads to resentment in the heart and ultimately destroys lives and relationships. “What does it mean to forgive, if not to appeal to a good that is greater than any evil?”