Monday Morning Mercy
In the words of that famous jazz singer and theologian Billy Holiday, “Sometimes it is worse to win a fight than to lose”. That is the way I feel about our present political discourse and public debates. Everyone is claiming to be a winner but they are worse off for it, especially those of us who want to attach a Christian perspective to our view points. Jesus taught that there is something not quite right about praising God on Sunday and then cursing our brother on Monday. Our Sunday morning worship should lead us to Monday morning mercy for those who disagree with us.
After learning God’s word on the Lord’s Day, Monday is for doing God’s word – loving people and repairing our relationships. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus takes the command “do not murder” and intensifies it, deepens it, and clarifies it. The root of killing is anger. This kind of anger is not like a flame that burns dried straw – it flames up and burns out quickly – like my anger in the Squirrel Hill tunnel at rush hour. The anger that commits murder is like a burning coal that continues to produce heat. It attacks the mental intelligence and moral character of a person calling them an idiot and a liar. This carried anger not only hurts others but it diminishes us.
God’s surgical method of dealing with this source of murder is to scare the hell out of us. He confronts our bitter pool of anger with a more bitter pool of divine judgement – the fires of hell that burn longer and hotter than our little lump of coal. Even cloaked as a humorous hand grenade, our murderous anger that hurts others is liable for God’s judgement.
The good news is that while every command of Jesus first humbles us it then lifts us up. We learn the full extent of not murdering and then we learn how we can keep the command. We seek reconciliation with those we have hurt, with those we disagree and with those who are disagreeable. Jesus even instructs us to be reconciled first before bringing our gift to him, show Monday morning mercy before retuning to Sunday morning worship. We learn that when we put Jesus first, He instructs us is to put others first. It may seem impossible to never carry a grudge but it is possible to make amends, to heal a relationship, and to win a friend by losing a fight.