Matthew 5:21-26 ANGER
Jesus (during the Sermon on the Mount) begins His theme of teaching us to see the intent of the commandments. The Ten Commandments are a matter of the heart and the intent is as much a sin as the actual action.
Jesus references the commandment not to murder (Exodus 20:13; "Thou shalt not kill" is the 5th commandment) and compares it to anger and insults. All sin deserves the same punishment, which is why I need Jesus. Anger and insults are as bad as murder. Anger and insults can be the root cause of murder, emotional hurt, stress, and other violence. Anger breaks God's commandment to love. Anger is a heart issue and even if I control my outward anger, anger residing in my heart is just as bad. God does not want me to offer a gift at the alter (or even praise and thanksgiving in prayer, I would think) until I have reconciled with another, especially those who have something against me. Jesus finds it more important to fix personal relationships with others than to offer Him gifts. Does He feel these are false gifts?
If there is something wrong with one of my relationships then my relationship with Jesus is messed up too. The vertical (Jesus) and the horizontal (others) relationships work together. In order to get right with God, I must also get right with others. Jesus wants me to reconcile with others quickly. I am guilty of letting reconciliation go a long time until the time seems to be right. Sometimes I address it right away, but other times I let the tides calm for a very long time. Here Jesus encourages swift reconciliation. I feel as if most people never come to me to talk things out and they rather just throw me away. Why are they so afraid to talk to me? Sometimes I offer over and over for them to tell me what I did wrong when I have no idea what I did wrong, and they refuse to talk. Here Jesus references literally being thrown into prison should the matter not come to terms with the accuser. Sometimes people really seriously believe their view of a situation, not realizing there is another view and that their view may be wrong. Romans 12:18, "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all." Ephesians 4:26-27, "Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil." This is the new life in Christ which we live.