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Matthew 5:21-26, Concerning Anger

Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today

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.
— Matthew 5:23-24

NL Daily Devotion for Tuesday, January 29, 2019

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by Dr. Kimberly Leetch, Clergy Stuff


It’s a common misconception among some Christians that anger is bad. “Turn the other cheek,” has been turned to mean, “Never get angry,” or “Let others walk all over you.” Not only is that an unrealistic perspective on anger, it’s also unhealthy. We cannot control whether we react to a situation in anger, any more than with humor. Emotions simply are.

Actions, however, are for the most part within our control. When we get angry, there are many courses of action we might take. We can lash out. We can ignore it. We can stuff it with food or drugs. We can approach it logically or irrationally. We can take matters into our own hands and take necessary steps to solve the issue of conflict with grace and patience. It’s this last one that today’s reading recommends.

When we can take a slow, rational look at the source of conflict and take a bold look at our part in it, we can learn to equip ourselves with the tools necessary to resolve the conflict with dignity. “First be reconciled,” the text suggests. If we can muster the confidence and courage to face conflicts without accusation, blame, or deep cuts, we can reach resolution that is satisfying and loving. Who might you need to reconcile with? Can you approach a conversation with grace and peace? Only then can you approach God with a clean, peaceful heart.


Narrative Lectionary Daily Reading:

Matthew 5:21-26

“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.

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