Scripture Reading for Friday, March 14
Reading: Matthew 5:21-26
As long as humans have sinned, we have known murder. As we look ahead to Good Friday there is a darkness that can hang over the whole Lent season; certainly while the outcome of that Friday was good what was done to Jesus on that day was nothing less than a wicked thing. On that day humanity rose up against our God and to put it bluntly murdered him in an act of defiance. Surely, as Jesus said, we did not know what we were doing.
The Fridays before easter then are days in which we can begin to prepare ourselves for this somber occasion of Jesus' death on the cross.
Our reading today comes out of Jesus' sermon on the mount; a section of which is Jesus' 'you have heard it said... but I say' admonitions. Jesus is taking the law of Moses and bringing it into himself (as the fulfiller of the law). The key here though is that Jesus is not laying down another and greater law; rather he is bringing the reasoning behind the law into greater focus, and that deeper meaning is relationship.
When someone murders, the person being killed has been judged by the killer to be unworthy of living, or less-than-human. Jesus admonishes us that even to hate another is to have killed them in that we have judged them to be sub-human. Jesus makes it known that his followers are those that not only do not murder others, we go out of our way to reconcile with others.
The reason for reconciliation and forgiveness of others often has less to do with them then it does to do with us. Certainly to hold a grudge can feel good for a time but the reality is that it leads us towards Gods judgment; 'as you judge others, so will you be judged.' The hell we experience then, is the one of our own choosing. When we learn to forgive, to work for peace, to own up to our own mistakes we are making room for God to work in our lives.
As we prepare our hearts for Easter, what better thing can we do than to seek out reconciliation and peace?
Questions for Reflection or Journaling
- Have you treated someone as less-than-human this week? If so, can you make amends today?
- In what ways can you make steps in your life that promote reconciliation and peace with those around you ahead of Easter, and beyond?
Lord, we call on you today out of a sense of repentance. You are holy, and because of that holiness you burn away that which is unjust and sinful. Take a look at our hearts God and let your holiness consume our sin as we confess it to you. This is all through the power of your sacrifice on the cross.