Matthew 5:21-26 Words of Jesus:

"You have heard that the ancients were told, 'You SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the Supreme Court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell."

"Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering."

"Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Truly I say to you, 'you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent."

Last Sunday evening the second season of "All Creatures Great and Small" began on PBS Masterpiece. The first season had ended with the bride Helen sitting alone on the front church pew as the town folk left for home. Helen had called off the wedding for reasons yet unknown. Her friend James postponed his trip home to see his mother and came to the church. They talked briefly and he walked her out of the church.

If you're thinking 'wow, that's a stretch to go with the scripture . . ' I say, maybe.

Jesus says if you are before the altar and remember your brother (or sister) has something against you . . first, go find that person and make peace with them!

Why? It's really more serious than a wedding being called off.

Anger sits and stews within you until it becomes a condition that is criminal. Why? It turns into contempt.

Contempt: the feeling that a person is beneath consideration, worthless, or deserving scorn. Despicable.

If you call your brother a fool / Raca / which is a term of insult, then you are in danger of the ultimate punishment . . outside the Kingdom of God.

There's no word here about killing. Not needed because Jesus doesn't wait until it gets that far.

So what should a person do if they are at an altar with a gift? Drop it, run for the exit and find the person you are angry with.

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