Verse: Matthew 5:25-26
25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

This verse starts with Jesus commanding us to settle our disagreements quickly. We can’t ignore it and just let bitterness and anger grow, or it will become a prison. In the context of this verse, Jesus is probably speaking literally about a scenario in which a disagreement is brought before the courts to be settled. He is giving practice advice to figure it out before things escalate. In the second verse, He speaks more figuratively when He refers to “the last penny”. He’s referring to having to pay the judge, the officer, the prison, etc.,  and giving money over and over when they will never be satisfied with the amount given, it’ll never be enough. He references giving everything and it not being enough until there is nothing left to give.

Let’s extrapolate out to what in the world this means to us today…

Think about the contexts we find ourselves in that produce conflict everyday. We all come into contact with disagreements and conflict. If you’re like me, maybe you hate conflict and do everything in your power to avoid it. If you’re like my husband, maybe conflict doesn’t scare you and you can address it head on. Whatever boat you’re in, there’s no avoiding that disagreements will happen. When it does, we have a choice. We can work towards resolution, or we can let it fester, grow, and get out of control. It can spread and become bitterness, hate, anger, and full of sin. We can give, give, and give our energy to it but it will never be enough to resolve it when we let it become a huge, unresolved problem. It’s easy to let one disagreement become a foothold for lifelong bitterness or resentment. These feelings have real, eternal impacts on us. Jesus knew this and placed such importance on it that He included this lesson in His sermon on the mount. He wants us to have healthy relationships in which we resolve conflict and don’t give darkness any footholds.

Do you have any unresolved conflict in your life? Any disagreements? Unspoken bitterness or resentment? Spend some time thinking about it and talking to Him about it today. He is the only one who can heal the hurts of this world and help us to move on, so that we might not let sin fester. He wants you to experience the freedom He has to offer us, no matter what’s happened in the past. Let yourself go there today. Talk to Jesus about your past hurts, and let Him surround you with His comfort and guidance.

Lord, thank you for using Your word to still speak to me today. Give me the courage to think about the tough things. Help me to reflect on my past hurts and examine my heart for any unresolved conflicts or bitterness/resentment. Guide me on how to move past these feelings so that I might step into the freedom You have for me. We love you Lord, amen.

Author: Becca Artymenko