During His famous “Sermon on the Mount” Jesus gave six illustrations of what He meant by “righteousness that exceeds the scribes and the Pharisees.” Here is one of those illustrations
(1) Jesus’ first illustration had to do with murder
Matthew 5:21-22 (English Standard Version ESV)
"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.'
"But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire."
There are all kinds of reasons that you and I get angry that, when you get right down to it, have only to do with our selfish interests being thwarted.
We didn’t get what we wanted, one way or the other. When you and I hold people in contempt, or put them down, or impugn their reputation, that comes from evil. God considers that as good as murder, it’s sin.
* People who love with Christ's love will not sin in this way because love never seeks to destroy, but always to build up.
Jesus gave an example of what this would look like in every day life:
"So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you" (Matthew 5:23 ESV)
You’re preparing to worship God, or do your Bible study, or pray about something, and this thought comes into your head “You said some pretty mean things to that person.” Who do you think it would be, helping you remember that someone had reason to be offended by you?
Pay attention when the Holy Spirit is working in your heart about something.
"...leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." (Matthew 5:24 ESV)
Literally, do not delay another moment.
Sin never dies of old age, it just gets worse with time.
Call that person up, or write them a note; do something about it, in all humility and true grief for having offended that person and God. You will find that Jesus not only goes with you, He provides the words for you, and has prepared the other person to hear what you have to say.
When you obey God in this, whatever happens next is also in His hands, you have done what was right in His eyes, and now it is the other person’s chance to also do right. Then you are free to worship, and get into the Scriptures, and pray.
Jesus gave another example about going to court, and you’re both convinced that you’re right. Better settle out of court, while you still have a chance, in this life. It’s really better to do whatever you can, out of mercy, for the other person rather than stand on your rights, because once God comes into it, the judge at the court, you may very well be found guilty after all.
* What dispute has there ever been where only one person is a hundred percent wrong, and the other person is one hundred percent the innocent victim? Nothing gets past the Lord. You are responsible for your one percent.
All passages taken from the New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.