The Necessity of Unity through Forgiveness
6th Sunday of Epiphany:
Readings: Ecclesiasticus 15:11-20
1 Corinthians 3:1-9
It is Christ who always teaches us because He wants us to be in His Kingdom. We are to be a unified body if we are to be witnesses to the world. But we see division, jealousy and strife instead. In this kind of division, it is the enemy who is “reigning.” We need to have respect and honor for each other without attacking one another. The necessity of our awakening to the need for unity. It is natural for us to have differences in opinions. Many theologians are teaching different things. But we need to listen to the Holy Spirit.
In the Gospel today, Jesus is talking about unity. We should not miss the value of what God has intended for us. We are responsible for the world. Why would the world want to be in the church when we are divided and fighting among ourselves. There are so many denominations today. Where is the unity? How can we reach out to the world unless we are one in Christ? The saying in the Old Testament is that we should not commit murder. But Christ is telling us that if anyone is angry with His brother, he is guilty. The Jewish Law is based on what people did. The new Law is based from the heart. There are two words describing “anger” in the Greek language:
“Thumos” – the kind of anger that’s passionate but subsides easily. It’s like dry grass that when lighted, burns easily.
“Orge” – the kind of anger that is long-term. Something that is retained in our lives.
Anger puts us in slavery and destroys us. We must let it go. If we keep bitterness in our hearts, that which is there will cause us to do something. As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.
James 1:20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
Colossians 3:8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
2 Corinthians 7:10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
Christ emphasizes the need for unity in the church. He is our Master. We are on a journey. We should change from one aspect of understanding to the next. We should be growing each day. When Christ comes back, we should be reaching our goal.
John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” Jesus’ work on the cross includes forgiveness and redemption. He said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” If we do not forgive, we are in major trouble. Unforgiveness means death. He forgave those who were crucifying Him. It’s not wrong to get angry at times, but we do not hold it in our hearts or in our lives. We must let it go. Unity is where power is. The whole creation came about through the unity of the Truine God. Man has turned against the things of God because of evil, because of Satan. But God is a God of love who does not condemn us. It is necessary that we do not hold our anger. We are to conquer through Christ. He is the Center of everything. Life was never meant to be a religion. The enemy has used religion to divide us. God gave us life, not religion. We see the difficulties of humanity in getting along with each other. We are to be like Jesus, and practice doing the things He did. We should not be angry and we should keep our word. It is a pledge. Forgiveness and redemption should follow after we release our momentary anger. We need to really begin to follow Christ and His ways.