Repairing Damaged Relationships - Faith Deliverance Ministry

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Repairing Damaged Relationships

Matthew 5:21-26

Have you ever noticed how when people are angry, things tend to get broken or damaged. Someone who get angered at someone else and storm out of a house very upset, slamming a door so hard that a window brakes. It doesn’t take much these days to make a person angry, yet we need to be careful with what we do and say to others because we could possibly scar them forever. We can cause a person to lose hope in mankind and even in Christ Jesus if we are not careful with the things we do and / or say to them. Anger could also lead to physical altercations, whereas someone could get physically hurt or emotionally damaged. Someone throws a punch and a nose gets broken. Someone runs their mouth or mistreats others and feelings get hurt. In anger one nation lashes out against another and a pact or a treaty gets broken. Express too much anger when disciplining a child, and trust gets broken. Use angry words and perhaps a heart gets broken… …Church unity gets broken… …Relationships get broken. As a matter of fact, angry outbursts ruin many relationships.

Jesus addresses this vital issue in his the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5:1-12) Jesus is announcing God’s Kingdom is here on earth.

He surprises people by telling them God approves of them in spite of their imperfections

Those who follow Him will be as distinctive as salt and light. They’ll stand out.

Because those in this Kingdom won’t attempt to be impressive just by obeying rules – they will gain their good standing with God through a relationship with Jesus

In Matthew 5:20, he tells us that our righteousness needs to surpass that of those who look perfect on the outside. Because far from being satisfied with good appearances, God is looking for hearts that have been changed. And now he’s going to illustrate this kind of the heart in several ways. It’s safe to say that the average American would consider himself/herself to have a good heart. You know to be a basically good person. A rather common line of reasoning that exists today in determining if we are good sounds something like this –

"Well, I know I’m not perfect, but at least I’m not a murderer!"

As if murder is the line between good and bad – perhaps also assuming that murder is the point of no return. Once a person commits murder, they can never be considered a good person ever again. That’s actually a very ancient way of thinking. (Ancient in the truest sense of the word). Because that appears to be exactly what some thought about what it meant to be a good person in Jesus day. I’m basically a good person. I haven’t murdered anyone. Jesus says, whoa! Not so fast here. Give this some thought.

Jesus didn’t assume everything his audience had heard concerning the content of the OT Scriptures was really in the OT. This is because the Pharisees and teachers of the law regarded certain oral traditions as equal authority with Scripture itself. So he starts out by saying…"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder.’" (That’s in the OT. That’s commandment number 6 of the 10 Commandments. Do not murder… …nd…(now here’s the oral tradition part) "…nyone who murders will be subject to judgment." That’s what had been handed down for years. If you murder, you are subject to judgment – in other words, you would be brought before the local courts. The crowd on the mountain with Jesus would have been as familiar with that statement as they were with the simple command – "Do not murder." So here is what Jesus says…"But I tell you, that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment." (v. 21) His point? I. ANGER IS SERIOUS AND DANGEROUS (v. 21-22) Jesus describes anger here like a crescendo – it builds through three stages. The first stage…

1. Anger directed against another person

Anyone who is angry with his brother is subject to judgment. That is…orthy of the same consequence as murder because…ngry thoughts break the murder prohibition too. How can this be?

Anger, in its simples form is a spontaneous response that has a vital function in life. It alerts us to an obstruction of our wills and immediately raises alarm and resistance, even before we have time to think about it. Not all anger is bad – even Jesus got angry when people were having obstacles put in the way of their coming to God at the Temple – Bible talks of the wrath of God. The problem is our anger quickly turns to something more evil. It includes thoughts of making a painful impression on others, whether physically, verbally, or emotionally. Jesus says, we shouldn’t even allow ourselves to become angry enough to consider harming someone in any way (feelings too), because then we’ve already committed murder in our hearts. Anger is as serious as murder in the heart. It’s dangerous too…The second stage of anger…ontempt Also in verse 22 Jesus says, "Again anyone who says to his brother ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin."

2. "Raca" – an expression of contempt Raca – means "emtpy head." The word may have originated from the sound a person makes in clearing the throat in preparation to spit. Rrraaaacah! That’s what I think of you! Jesus said this is a greater evil than just anger. In anger, we want to hurt someone. In contempt, we don’t care if that someone gets hurt or not.

Instead of Raca, today we might use dork, nerd, bonehead or something worse – perhaps a sexual, racial or cultural term. But the intent is always the same. It’s meant to cast someone aside – like spitting on them – and saying you don’t belong. Sometimes these words hurt so bad that murder would almost be a mercy. Jesus said that people who express contempt are guilty enough to be judged by the Sanhedrin - The highest court in the land – the Supreme Court. The third stage of anger is malice "But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell."

3. "Fool" was an expression of malice Fool, as such, no longer captures what Jesus had in mind. For us, fool is more like Raca – empty head. No! fool isn’t so cutting, but we sure have plenty of other terminology that allows us to go ahead and do exactly what Jesus was condemning without using the word "fool".

Do you think it’s possible you and I ever keep God’s rules but overlook his intentions? That’s what the Pharisees did. The Pharisees would never commit murder. Yet they were angry enough at Jesus to have him killed. But they got someone else to do it. Keeping the rules – but overlooking the intentions. So if someone at work misses a deadline – someone cuts us off in traffic – and we shout, "You brainless idiot!" Even with those words, we’ve already gone way too far. We’ve gone beyond the intention of the commandment to not murder. To brand someone with words like that way is a violation of the soul so devastating it justifies a person who said it being severely punished.

A Christian rock band known as, Creed, is known for their powerful music and their passionate lyrics are inspired by genuinely Christian themes.

One of the songs they sing is called "What If." The song says… I know I can’t hold the hate inside my mind Cause what consumes your thoughts controls your life So I’ll just ask one question…hat if? What if your words could be judged like a crime? That’s exactly what Jesus is talking about here. Hateful words spoken in anger are treated like a crime - specifically murder - in God’s eyes. Jesus reminds us, it is not possible for people with such attitudes toward others to be thought of as truly good, or righteous. People who think this way are out of harmony with God’s kingdom. Some might think at this point, "So, I’m going to go to Hell for calling someone a nerd?" No. Jesus isn’t saying that. He’s illustrating the fact that the Kingdom heart is a heart of love. A heart that values relationships, and doesn’t just want to get by with the rules, and say, "Well, at least I’ve never killed anyone." That kind of heart values other people. From Jesus’ perspective, we can see why this is so serious. As He’s saying these words, He already knows what kind of death awaits him at the cross. So reading between the lines we can hear him say, "Hey, you people who cut others down with your words. I’m here to give my life for them and for you. That guy you just called an idiot? I love him. He’s so valuable to me that even if he was the only person in the world, I’d still die for him. And you’re making him sound worthless and insignificant? What’s that say about my mission to die for him? How dare you? That’s not the kind of heart inside a person who is truly good – inside a person who follows me." Jesus is operating at heart level - where anger grows. Anger embraced and allowed to grow through these three stages is dangerous and serious.

Don’t go the route of anger. Don’t embrace it. Don’t harbor it. Don’t nurse it. Don’t befriend it. Don’t play with it in your mind. Crush it while you still can. It’s so serious it can cut you off from God. So dangerous it can crush you. To cut the root of anger is to wither the tree of human evil. Anger is serious and dangerous. It ruins relationships. With that point being made, Jesus turns to some practical examples that show us this…II. TO AVOID ANGER, TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY So immediately we should… Settle things with others before attempting to worship Jesus sets the scene at the altar – one of the holiest moments in life.

Matthew 5:23-24 says: "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift." We might think of a wedding, ordination, baptism, communion Right then you remember – someone is angry with me. I am at odds with someone. My actions have knowingly hurt someone else. Jesus says, go! Settle matters – now! He says it is far more important to be reconciled to someone than it is to engage in religious activity. Worship becomes a sham if we’ve behaved so poorly prior to coming to worship that we’ve knowing hurt someone. Similarly 1 John 4:20-21 makes this point: "If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

So settle things before attempting to worship. The other application Jesus gives: Settle things with others before receiving a court decision Matthew 5:25-26 "Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny." In Debtors prison, in order to get out, someone else would have to pay your debt. Because you won’t be making money in prison. So Jesus says, this is urgent business. Settle matters outside of court. It’s always safer. Anger can turn you into a hypocrite – Anger can land you in jail. So settle matters quickly. Jesus says, "Right now! If you wait, it could turn out to be disastrous." What if the person refuses to be reconciled? We might wonder, Am I never to go to church again? Ask ourselves these questions: Does our heart long for reconciliation? Have we done all that we can? (Honestly) Do we act lovingly toward the person? Do we mourn for the harm that the person’s anger is doing toward his own soul, to us, and to the others around us? If so, then we are showing the kind of heart that has no desire to live at odds with someone. The kind of heart Jesus wants us to have.

Can I be involved in court battle and still expect salvation? Is Jesus saying never go to court? I don’t see that here. God provided judges for the people in the OT to settle some disputes. When someone refuses to be reconciled, they take us to court, or we are left with only that option. Jesus tells us here how to act – do whatever you do without hostility, bitterness and the merciless desire to win. Remember – Jesus isn’t so much giving a law as he is giving an illustration. The law in question, is do not murder. Since anger is as serious as murder, and it is also what leads to most actual homicides, avoid it at all costs by fixing broken relationships as quickly as possible. Don’t let anything get in the way – not a religious ritual, not a court verdict. Just do what you can to get it fixed. The truly good person does this. Since anger is serious and dangerous, we should take action immediately to avoid it. In My Conclusion: So what’s your action point? What do you need to do in response to Jesus’ words: Leave now and settle a dispute (Nobody’s going to think you’re weird).

If someone has something against you, it would actually be more weird if you stayed.)

  Ask God to forgive me for harsh words spoken against someone

  Give my anger to Jesus instead of embracing it

  Drop the "righteous" act and let Jesus change my heart

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