This passage comes in the middle of the section where Jesus is teaching about the values of the Kingdom of Heaven. In the verses before it, Jesus taught His disciples that the Kingdom belonged to little children and that God cares deeply for the little ones. In the verses that come after this passage, Jesus taught His disciples that they were to forgive always; that there was no statute of limitations on forgiveness, because forgiveness is part of the DNA of the Kingdom of Heaven.
So what is the point and the context of this passage? Jesus is contrasting the values of the Kingdom of Heaven with the values of the Kingdom of Man. Man’s law says, “If someone offends you, drag him to court, give him what he deserves, and make him suffer in a public way.” Jesus’ law says, “Do whatever it takes to preserve the dignity of the offending party. Don’t smear anyone publicly. Only as a last-ditch effort should this become public, and then it should be done within the family of the church.”
The key principle is really found in vv. 18-20. In these verses Jesus taught His disciples to always keep an eternal, Kingdom perspective on the issues. Verse 18 could read, “Don’t forget that your actions on earth have eternal ramifications.” Verses 19-20 teach that the highest value in the Kingdom is to preserve the unity of the Kingdom of Heaven, the church. When the body of Christ is unified in love, then it can do anything!
Now, think of the person you wrote down in the first question. What is your attitude toward them? Have you done everything you can to reconcile with them, or are you harboring bitterness and resentment towards them? Seek unity and reconciliation today. Let’s make sure that we are a community that speaks the truth in love with each other at all costs; a community that seeks to be in unity.