25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. Matthew 5:25-26
We’ve explored this week what it could look like to live free from anger. To move toward a person who has something against us. To hear and see them, and to take the first step toward reconciliation. Awareness of our own anger and others’ anger leads us to take initiative. Addressing anger quickly counters the devil’s plans to get a foothold in our life.
As we practice the humility required to lay down our rights and not act in anger, we will arrive at freedom. Freedom from the prisons of frustration and bitterness and jealousy and pride that all seem to accompany anger. Living in the way of Jesus with the heart of Jesus is not easy. It requires sacrifice and discipline and practice. But the rewards of living the free and abundant life are incomparable. And Jesus knows we will either wither in the prisons of anger or we will thrive in the blessings of a life lived His way. His invitation is to live in His Kingdom way.
Imagine this scene: you are going with someone (perhaps a neighbor, a stranger, or even a family member) to court. Whatever the grievance they have against you (founded or unfounded) it has not been resolved and the situation is being taken to the law. Now you are being handed over to the judge. The judge declares you guilty and calls the guard in to take you away. You are put into prison and it costs you your life savings to pay bail. Imagine the emotions you’ve experienced at each point in this story. Who are you frustrated at? Do you feel helpless? Are you discouraged?
Now imagine a different scene: you approach the same person (who has accused you of something) and ask them what it will take to settle the matter. Though it may cost you time or money or pride or your reputation you choose to make it right with them. You believe that what Jesus says is true: you will only experience imprisonment of your soul if you hold on to your self-proclaimed rights rather than relinquish them to Him and pursue reconciliation. Your accuser and you reach an agreement. What does your soul feel? How does your future seem to you? What fruit it borne in your heart?
Perhaps this week you have been stirred to make things right with someone. Have you done it yet? If not, can you pinpoint what is hindering you from taking the first step? Ask Jesus to remove that obstacle and strengthen your will to obey. If you have taken steps toward reconciliation this week I encourage you to journal about it, recounting the fruit that resulted. We’d also love to hear your story at: [email protected]
By Ellen Rosenberger