Ten Thousand Truths
“You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. - Matthew 5:20
Jesus' words in Matthew chapter 5 are challenging to say the least.
He tells the crowd gathered to hear him at the Sermon on the Mount that if they want to aspire to their true humanity, to be the people God dreams for them to be, it will mean living their lives far differently.
Jesus essentially informs the crowd, "You think you are doing good because you are keeping the easy command not to kill someone, but what you don't realize is that your anger, your antipathy toward other people is releasing lethal energy into the world."
In other words, in this new economy of the kingdom of God, holding resentment toward someone else is the same as assault with the intent to kill.
"But what about the jerks in my life?" we ask. "What about the idiots?" "What about the people who try to hurt me, talk bad about me, or the random people who cause me stress?"
We all have long lists of those who we would prefer to keep sending lethal thoughts toward, rather than forgive and be reconciled to them.
But what if these people have been placed in our lives to teach us what it means to truly follow Jesus? What if, as Henry Ward Beecher once wrote, these difficult people are one of the "ten thousand truths" sent by God to us each and every day?
In his excellent book The Gift of Hard Things, Author Mark Yaconelli writes, "Each encounter with another human being carries the possibility of changing how we experience the world."
Maybe those difficult people that are causing you to be angry, are actually a gift from God---a gift that serves to make you more like Jesus. Maybe they are sent to you so that you can begin the process of experiencing the world differently.
As you journey further into this season of Lent, perhaps it's time to ask yourself this question: "Who do I need to forgive and be reconciled to?"
May you discover new depths of love and forgiveness toward the people in your life who are hard to love. May you realize that forgiveness is the act of setting someone free and realizing that it's you.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.