“Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” – Matthew 5:23-24
As sincere forgiveness should be of high importance in our hearts and lives, so should reconciliation. We are to forgive one another as God in Christ has forgiven us. We are also called to be those who are committed to repair and strengthen that which has been damaged and broken.
In the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord Jesus teaches us that reconciliation needs to be a priority in our lives. We should be ready and willing to do so. Particularly, in this passage, Christ calls us to regular self-examination. If after such examination, we find that we are the offender, we must be committed to promptly seeking forgiveness and reconciliation with those we’ve offended. “Leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” We aren’t right with God if we aren’t right with our brother. We need to carefully preserve Christian love and peace among the brethren.
If we’re honest, sometimes we struggle with our part of that preservation as we wrestle to reconcile. Someone once told me, “It’s easier to forgive, but harder to reconcile.” Though, there can be truth in that statement, we must press forward in obedience and love.
Reconciliation takes humility. Pride is an all too familiar foe to true reconciliation. Pride often gets in the way, cuts us off at the pass, and even stops us before we start. Pride is often all too successful in rationalizing our sin away and blinding us to the truth. “What I did wasn’t that bad.” “It was really more their fault, not mine. I’m not going to them. They should come to me!” Yet, as we examine our hearts, we pray that the Holy Spirit would show us and slay the pride within. As He does, we fall to our knees in brokenness. We then must get on our feet, and run to our brother. Go quickly, my friends! Go quickly.
Reconciliation takes courage. Fear is another common enemy. It encourages us to go home, rather than go to them. It fills our minds with all of the “What ifs”, desiring to cripple us. “I don’t know how to say what I need to say.” “What if they get upset with me when I say it?” “What if I say something wrong…again? I can’t do it.” It takes courage to press through that mental minefield. It takes courage to pick up the phone, or knock on the door. This is yet another time when you need to remember our Lord is with you. What He has called you to do, He will equip you to do. Ask Him for courage and then go to your brother!
Reconciliation takes commitment. In many situations, true reconciliation will be a journey, not a sprint. Healing often takes time. Repairing what has been broken happens one piece at a time. As many wounds don’t heal overnight, the same is true with relationships. Don’t be discouraged by the time it takes to heal. Be committed for the long haul. Be ready for the ups and downs of the journey as things are put back into the right place and keep walking together. Further, seek the Lord and praise Him for the healing He brings!
Though much more can be said on this, may we all be devoted to walking with one another in love and peace this week, seeking reconciliation where needed, in obedience to and giving glory to our King.