MONDAY MEDITATION: Letting Jesus Applaud (March 13)

If you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift at the altar and go. First make things right with your brother or sister. — Matthew 5:23-24

“Revenge fantasies” is a genre of movies that features an over-the-top bad guy getting a really bad payback in the end. There’s a reason they’re successful. We love seeing righteousness prevail in the end. Who doesn’t?

Have you ever noticed, though, how we play out this theme in a smaller way? Someone does something we perceive as tacky. Our (my) response is often to tell others how tacky that person was. Or we (I) purposely ignore them. We get our revenge in a safe way, where the other person has been passively-aggressively dealt with.

One of the annoying things about Jesus is his tendency to take away things we secretly enjoy. “Leave your gift (self-righteous pity) at the altar and make things right with your brother or sister.”

That takes a lot of honesty, observation, and courage. To actually talk to, and be honest with, the offender is challenging. And honestly, in writing this, I’m trying to remember the last time I did it; it’s just so much easier gossiping to others.

Jesus always advocated reconciliation over revenge. He’d cry instead of rejoice at the end of a revenge fantasy movie. I’d rather act in such a way as to make him applaud.

3 thoughts on “MONDAY MEDITATION: Letting Jesus Applaud (March 13)”

  1. Your reflection comes at an interesting time. At Anaheim UMC, our pastor has been doing lessons on forgiveness during lent. This past Sunday, we had a lesson from Genesis where Jacob was planning to kill his brother Esau for stealing his inheritance. Esau fled for his life. Then, years later, Esau sought out Jacob where their reconciled with each other.


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