Love Your Brothers and Sisters

Text:
You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You shall not murder”; and “whoever murders shall be liable to judgement.” But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgement; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, “You fool”, you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.

Scripture: Matthew 5: 21-24

Reflection:
What is this murder that is mentioned and what does it have to do with my gift? And what is this gift I offer at the altar? Is it of this earth, being held in my hand like a sacrificial lamb? Or is it of my heart, an invisible and prayerful offering of love to my God? And how is it interconnected with whether or not my sister or brother has something against me? I think I am being called in this passage to love and accept my brother and sister without judgement, without name calling, without seeking to diminish or degrade. The gift is my life. I bring my gift to my God daily, through prayer and willful execution of the commandments and what they mean to me in my life. When I offer my gift to God, if I meet my creator with a tarnished heart, a heart that has been hardened by resentment, judgement and degradation, my spirit is lacking in the credentials of love and I must first seek to cleanse my thoughts and deeds of all hateful ways before I can walk humbly with my God. My gift is useless if it does not come from a place of unconditional love. Therefore, I see this passage as a challenge to love and support my brothers and sisters, no matter what! I am not being charged with liking my brothers and sisters. I am charged with loving them. In order to truly love them, I must first dismiss those feelings and thoughts that insult my own soul and my God. Then and only then will my gift be pure and acceptable at the altar.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, friend Jesus and Guiding light of the Spirit, be with us today as we bring our gifts to you, our altar. Fill us with the joy of knowing we are your children, able to remain steadfast in our ability to love each other as you have loved us. Help us to stay strong when our human nature kicks in and leads us to ungodly thoughts and actions. Encourage us to embrace your hopes and dreams for this earth, your intended heavenly home for us. Fill each and every person with the love and promise that is you. May we learn to share this promise with each other as we approach your altar. Amen.

Focus for the Day:
My gift at the altar is free of hatred and judgement and is filled with love and care for others.

Author: Robbie Sawitski

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