From Christ’s Sermon on the Mount: Matthew 5:21-24
"You have heard that the ancients were told, 'You SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”
Have you been slighted within the Church? Or, have you thought that a brother or sister in Christ may be upset with you? We have all been in these situations, but here is the caveat: born-again believers are to be peacemakers and make earnest attempts to fix broken relationships. The bar is high, but our place in Christ makes generating the fruits of love possible.
God is primarily concerned with the internal motives of our actions, and relationships are key indicators of our spiritual condition. In Matthew 5:21-24, Jesus demonstrates that external actions against others are just symptoms of a far deeper issue…the heart. He illustrates that the "Pharisee perception" of the Law is infinitely shallow. Consequently, anyone committing a wrongdoing such as murder may be guilty before court, but the mind and will driving the action is the root of the issue. God is concerned with the human heart.
Furthermore, in the passage, Christ states, "And whoever says, 'You fool," shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell." This statement also reflects the Lord's truth in Matthew 15:17-19 indicating what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart. Our words are a reflection of our inner being.
Ultimately, the reconciling heart harkens back to the Beatitudes, which initiated the Sermon on the Mount. Blessedness, or spiritual well-being, is reserved for the gentle, the merciful, and peacemakers. These are all Christlike qualities, and believers share in these spiritual fruits.
Messiah desires that we go through extraordinary lengths to reconcile broken relationships. Just remember what He did for us! He gave up His exalted position in heaven to reconcile with sinful man. Essentially, He came from His heavenly sanctuary into the dark dwelling place of man’s sin. Perhaps Paul stated this most clearly. In Philippians 2:3-11, the apostle states, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Jesus is the example of humility, and He shows us how love will go to any length to repair relationships. When we follow Him, we lay aside self-interests because others become more important than ourselves. By God's grace, we strive imperfectly to become more Christlike through sanctification. And ultimately, our hearts expose our internal condition at any given time. Do we count others better than ourselves? Within the house of the Lord, are we willing to mend fences at any cost?
“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.“
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
"Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders."
“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother."
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
1 Peter 3:8-9
To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.
1 John 4:20-21
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also."