“Everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” (Matthew 5:22)
It is a grave mistake to think that we can just do whatever we want because we’ll be forgiven. Is there any serious Christian who actually thinks that they can give in to the passions and desires of their flesh and still claim citizenship in the kingdom of heaven?
In fact, it is exactly the opposite. The Law applies to you more than it ever did to anyone else. You thought it was enough just not to kill someone, but Jesus says that you have already murdered if you even insult someone! That seems a bit harsh doesn’t it? Your mere words can be the same as murder! Perhaps you’ve been the subject of murderous words already? Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you? No one actually believes that. Words kill. You know what power they carry. Maybe Jesus was right.
Jesus does not let you off of the hook. He does not accept your excuses, nor is He looking for them! He doesn’t want to hear your halfway apologies for what you’ve done. He really does want you to be reconciled to your brothers. But who is able to put aside their anger and insults? Not me.
Jesus desires that all people would be reconciled to one another. In His death and resurrection, Jesus reconciled and restored all the world to God the Father, canceling all of the debt and pain which we had by being nailed to the Cross (Colossians 2:14). In this same death and resurrection, Jesus also reconciled us to one another, because we would not and could not do it on our own. Be reconciled to one another, for the sake of Jesus Christ, who has gifted us with this glorious peace!
Lord of all power and might, author and giver of all good things, graft into our hearts the love of Your great name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of Your great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.