You probably know people who make up their own version of Christianity based in part on things they’ve heard, part on their own logical conclusions, and part on wishful thinking. Quoting the “Good Book,” they say things like, “God helps those who help themselves,” unaware that those words don’t come from the Bible.
Jesus spent a lot of time in his Sermon on the Mount correcting various aspects of the “folk religion” of his day. For instance, he saw that people’s understanding of God’s law was very superficial. God’s holy requirements run not only to deeds but also to words and even thoughts: “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” (Matthew 5:21,22). Surprise!
Hating and hurting someone in your mind are not only sins needing the forgiveness and healing of Jesus, but they do real damage to the hater. They are acids that burn in your stomach and corrode your soul. Anger is a prison. It can keep you trapped in negativity and make it hard for you to sustain healthy relationships with other people and with God too. Is there any hate in your heart right now? Wash it out with the daily grace that comes to you from Christ.
Choosing to love sinners is the work of Christ and the angels.
Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of six books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics.
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