One year ago, my husband sent out the first of many letters to our church regarding how we would respond to COVID-19. In the past year, we've met online, drive-in via FM transmitter, in-person in separate rooms, and now in-person with cleaning in between.
If nothing else, I hope we've learned in this past year that it doesn't matter where/how we meet. God is still God no matter what, and we are still the Church, no matter what!
This verse in Matthew struck me in a new way as I read it. The Pharisees were whining to Jesus about how he healed in the temple on the Sabbath, and His response: "I tell you that something GREATER than the temple is here."
What a great reminder for us today! Venues may change, but meeting together, with Jesus at the center, is the most important thing. Let's not take for granted this great gift of the local church that He has given us. Things may not be the same, but let that be a challenge to you to cling tight to Jesus and spur one another toward love and good deeds.
Go and Be Reconciled
rI have said it many times, but people are not perfect, and they can make you frustrated and angry. I know in my life I've been hurt, and it's really hard not to be angry.
There were friends and family who didn't come to our wedding, I've overhead people gossip about me, and I've even had phone calls with someone yelling at me, gaslighting the situation as if I was at fault. I know how it feels to be angry. So angry. And yet, people hurting us is inevitable, so what happens next?
In Matthew 5:21-26, Jesus puts anger in the same category as murder. Ugh, makes you think a little more about being angry, doesn't it?
Before moving on, let me caution you in saying that nowhere in this passage does He say to allow people to treat you terribly or completely put your trust in them again if they have deeply hurt you. You need to take care of yourself, and the steps He gives should help you do just that.
Moving on. First, in verses 23-24, Jesus says to stop before you give your offering and go be reconciled beforehand. He says this because he wants you to come before his throne clean, empty-handed, and not holding on to that sin.
Next, in vase 25, He says to settle matters quickly. In other words, don't let your anger fester and grow. Remember, this is to help you. Holding on to anger for an extended amount of time will just cause you more pain.
These seem like simple steps, but they are easier said than done. Every situation is different so you may find that talking in person helps to solve one issue while writing a letter is better for another. No matter how you approach the person, the bottom line is that you need to let go of anger to avoid judgment and ongoing turmoil in your heart.
If you don't know where to start or don't feel brave, take some time to pray. You don't have to do it alone! Ask God for help. Ask Him to be your strength. Go and be reconciled.