This morning this passage came up in the daily devotional from my church. As I read the Reflect section I felt a whisper calling me to post this. In particular, there are are a few words that we should consider:
I am also a follower of Dr. Henry Cloud https://www.boundaries.me/blog/ and as I reflect on this section of the Bible, Divorce and Boundaries a few other words and phrases came to mind:
- Treating the X as I would want to be treated
- Treating any children involved as I would want to be treated if I were them
Only you know where the boundaries lie between stubbornness and pride vs love and the Golden Rule. Only you know whether fighting on in court is really best for all concerned. Only you know or you will find out the hard way if you’re being selfish, narcissistic, unloving and unforgiving. You will find out sometimes years later when the decisions you make now to settle or to fight on either work to everyone’s benefit (including any children involved) or whether your decisions “come back to haunt you.”
As we approach Halloween the haunting is real, the pride and price we all pay for stubbornness and ego is terrible, but we can make a new choice at any time and choose love. Sometimes love does mean fighting on, but sometimes it means Settle Matters Quickly before they go to trial!
Read Matthew 5:21–26
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”
We are back to our primary passage for this week, from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. In the last paragraph of this passage, Jesus tells His disciples to settle matters quickly with their adversaries. In other words, we should not be people who cause disputes to go on and on. Again, Jesus is focused on our hearts. What does our desire to drag out an argument or adversarial relationship reveal about our hearts?
- What came to mind as you read the last paragraph of today’s passage? Why do you think that is?
- Reflect on a time you’ve dragged out an argument or dispute. What was motivating you? What was going on in your heart during that time?
- What invitation do you sense God extending to you about resolving disputes quickly?
God, give me eyes to see myself more clearly in moments of tension and dispute. Show me where I’m being stubborn and prideful, or dragging things out where it’s unloving or unnecessary. Give me the presence of mind to stop and show compassion and kindness. Continue to mold my heart so that it looks more and more like Yours. Amen.