One of the things that really got my attention in these verses is that Jesus doesn't say anything about the person that may have done something that caused us to be offended. Notice that He only focuses on our own reactions. Do you ever wonder why He always focused on us rather than the other person? I think there are a few reasons for that. First of all, we cannot control the way the other person reacts and behaves; however, we can control our behavior and reactions. I think this is such an important point to consider that will help us before anger begins to take control. We don't have to stay angry.
That brings me to my other point which is, anger will only do harm to ourselves. We may do things that are hurtful to other people out of our anger, but the greatest danger is still what we do to ourselves in our anger. Jesus warns that we put ourselves in danger of judgement because of our anger. Notice that Jesus doesn't say anything about being justified in our anger because someone didn't apologize, He told us to stay away from the dangers of anger.
Jesus also teaches the importance of reconciliation. Once again, He places that on our shoulders and not on the shoulders of the other person. He tells us that if there is something that we need to make right with someone that we should do it quickly. He doesn't say anything about the other person's obligation to forgive; He only mentions our part in the reconciliation. I think it is so important for us to keep focused on our part in forgiveness and reconciliation because the minute we focus on what the other person should be doing, we forget what God expects from us.
Is there anger smoldering in your heart? Do you need to apologize to someone?
This post is linked with Faith Filled Friday.