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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

Reconciliation

(Jesus said to the disciples): “You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.  “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.  “Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.” ~ Matthew 5:21-37


It isn't enough to not murder someone. Don't hate them either.


It isn't enough to not commit adultery. Don't be lustful either.


It isn't enough to swear falsely. Don't swear at all.


And then we have divorce...


A woman in first century Palestine would be destitute if her husband divorced her - which he could do pretty easily - even for something like burning dinner!


But in God's ultimate reality, women would not be left without resources. Their marriages could not be so easily dismissed.


In all of these "do nots" there is the call for love and respect. Love of neighbor, respect of neighbor is central to God's law. It isn't enough to do the bare minimum for your neighbor.


If there is an issue with that neighbor, fix it.


Be reconciled to them.


How many relationships do you know that need reconciliation? Doesn't it seem that we live in a time where hating someone you disagree with is the norm? And completely acceptable?


Not to God. For God, life comes out of respect and love for each other.


Without that, we are lost.



Help me to be reconciled, Lord, to those I haven't been loving or respecting. Amen






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