Friday, February 04, 2005

Disciples Know (4)

Disciples Know to Speak Respectfully
Matthew 5:21-26

Page 1: The word of the Lord . . .
"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do 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. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that the brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to that person; then come and offer your gift.

"Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you,
you will not get out until you have paid the last penny." (Matthew 5:21-26) TNIV
Page 2: From the news . . .
Man Gets 20-Year Term After Slaying of Friend

"Cleburne, TX -- A man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to killing his friend after they argued over whether they would go to heaven or hell when they died.

"Clayton Frank Stoker, 22, of Joshua pleaded guilty Tuesday before opening statements were to begin in his murder trial. He will be eligible for parole after serving at least 10 years.

"According to Johnson County Sheriff's Office reports, Stoker was sitting at a patio table outside a Godley, TX house on July 28 talking with Johnny Allen Joslin Jr., 20, and two other men after a night of drinking in nearby Fort Worth.

"After the group began arguing over religion and who would go to heaven or hell, Stoker left the table, retrieved a shotgun from inside the house and rejoined the group, Sheriff Bob Alford said. Alford said witnesses reported that Stoker then put the shotgun in his mouth, and Joslin pulled it out, saying, 'If you have to shoot somebody, shoot me.' Joslin put the barrel of the shotgun to his own chest, and Stoker pulled the trigger."*
Page 3: Seven ways his word & our lives intersect
1. People's tendency is to limit the effect of the word of the Lord in their life. When was the last time you truly measured your life not by what you've always heard others say, but by what the Lord has said?

2. Murder isn't just a physical act; murder begins in the heart. And God knows our hearts.

3. Any sort of disrespect toward another human being is a step in the wrong direction for your heart. Where are you headed given the way you think about and talk about others - all the others - you meet?

4. A heart headed in the wrong direction will lead you to places you never intended, nor would ever want, to visit. And sometimes, there is no way to return from those places.

5. As a disciple of Jesus Christ, you must not try to make room in your heart for resentment, judgment or hatred. Your heart can't handle it and those things lead only toward death.

6. The Lord would rather receive your worship than see you just "go to church." Jesus looks at your attempts to reconcile with someone as pure worship. Reconciling and making peace is what church is all about. Don't settle for going to church; be the church.

7. Your life will run out someday and when it does, you don't want to die estranged from others. To die that way only puts everyone through hell.
So . . .
"go and be reconciled . . . settle matters quickly."
* Houston Chronicle; 3//27/2003.