Father, thank You for Your love and patience with me. Help me to hear Your Word to me today.
Consider: Uncontrolled, inappropriate anger and rampant sexual desires can destroy relationships. God gives us new desires. We can hunger and thirst after him.
I once knew a family-court lawyer who observed that most murders involving family members take place because a weapon happens to be at hand. Otherwise there is just another family dispute. Jesus is talking about dealing with what goes on inside us before any of it gets translated into action. The central point is that to utter, or even entertain, anger against another person is to reveal an attitude of contempt that God takes very seriously. Depending on the circumstances, that contempt may or may not result in some kind of action. We are all of us infinitely precious in God's sight. That needs to be a bedrock value in all our relationships.
The same bedrock value underlies all our relationships with the opposite sex. Jesus advocates drastic measures for dealing with problems here. I can remember being so impressed by his logic that I wondered why we shouldn't take it literally--and then I realized that there wouldn't be much of us left! Jesus is using intentional hyperbole, or overstatement, to get his point across. Let's just beware that in recognizing the hyperbole we don't throw out his point. Disregard for another person is something that God takes very seriously. His words on divorce need to be read in conjunction with what he says elsewhere on this topic (Matt. 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18). What we have here is the bottom line.
As I wrote the title above (I actually wrote "Sacrosanct relationships with all other Christians!" but there wasn't room for it all), I experienced that tingle in my spine that thrills me whenever I reflect on the ideal that is God's intention. Then I get back into the fray of relationships--family, church, work and people everywhere. It's been helpful to stop and remind myself of that tingle before I go back and get involved again in the tangle of ordinary life.
Reflect honestly on all of your relationships where there's tension. Pray for every person you have difficulty with.
Heavenly Father, I pray for healthy relationships. For this to happen I need to learn from You. Thank You for Your gift of wisdom for wholesome living.
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