House Rules



Daily reading: Matthew 5:23-26
June 16, 2015

Focus scripture: “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.” Matthew 5:23-24

We all have rules.  

Often times, the rules you find in the home of a family with children come about because of things that have happened.

I can remember back when I was in seminary.  One of the professors had Dan and I babysit a couple of times.  Her kids were pretty young at the time and in their dining room there was this exhaustive list of rules.  

“No throwing toys” 
“No pulling off Barbie’s head”
“No Nerf guns on the table”
Rules that were clearly put to paper once the offense had happened. We have rules like “no running with scissors” or “no running in the street” or “look both ways before crossing the street” to keep our children safe.  

We have rules like “use your words”  and “say nice things” to teach respectful actions and conversation.
We set up parameters to care for and protect our children, to teach them that while we might say “sticks and stones might break my bones but words will never hurt me.” 

It isn’t really true.  

Our words do matter because they affect our relationships, they affect how we feel about one another and how we treat one another.
And then when life gets hard and we are exhausted we find out how much of those life lessons have really taken hold. In fact how we treat one another could be argued to be of more importance than coming to worship.  

At least that’s how I read verses 23-24 which say “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.”

How we treat one another matters to God. It is a fundamental component of God’s Kingdom.

So I invite you to think about your most important relationship.  The one that is good and healthy and sustains you from day to day.

Think about what makes it good and healthy?
Why is it important to you?

Now I want you think about another relationship that is important to you but has suffered some damage.

And rather than think about why it got damaged, offer it to God as a place in your life that needs God’s help and healing.

You see Jesus comes speaking about this Kingdom and we eagerly make time to come and hear about it, we try in earnest to envision it, we even try to live into like a new exercise regimen.  

But what we might fail to do, is to invite God into the process. God sees beyond the surface brokenness into our hearts. To recognize that this new work God is doing in us and among us is fundamentally about picking up the broken pieces of our lives and our community and mending them back together.

Prayer: God we are so grateful that you call us into relationship with you and that you care about the relationships that we have with one another.  You care how we treat one another and how we function together as the body of Christ.  We thank you God for relationships that are good and healthy and that sustain us and we pray for your help and healing with relationships that have suffered brokenness.  Help us to see down to the core of our problems and set us on the right path. Amen.

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