Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Reconcile Before Worship

Chuckle: Child's prayer: "Dear God, Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones, why don't you just keep the ones you got now?" Jane
Quote: If we have aught against another, we will reconcile our differences before we worship at his (God’s) altar.” –Unknown source

Jesus said, "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to your brother (or sister); then come and offer your gift" (Matthew 5:23-24 NIV).
Our passage for today contains some poignant truths that are often missed by God's people. This is Jesus speaking about one of our important acts of worship -- giving of our tithes and offerings. Notice that Jesus said something must happen in our hearts and in our relationships with others before our offerings can be given in a way pleasing to God.
Further, Jesus says you are to take the initiative in reconciling with your brother or sister. It doesn't matter that the other person did something to hurt you, or has hard feelings toward you. In the spirit of Jesus' teaching, you cannot wait for that person to come to you and apologize for the hurt. It is incumbent upon you, the one who is hurt and bitter, to go to the offending person and do everything you can to restore the relationship.
You may say, "but he/she did something terribly wrong to me -- it's his/her responsibility to come to me and make amends." Not so! You are to be the loving aggressor in restoring the relationship, no matter who is at fault. You may say something like, "but Jerry, you don't know how deeply that person hurt me -- what he/she did is unforgivable! It's not fair, or reasonable, that I should be asked to work at restoring our relationship." Your right! It's not reasonable to the world, but for those who are new creations in Christ, the standards must be different. "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV).
You see, as a new creation in Christ, you have the Holy Spirit of God living within you. He wants to give you the strength to do the impossible and unreasonable. Note that Jesus didn't say "try to be reconciled," but, "be reconciled." This means doing whatever it takes to restore the relationship. Is there a family member, neighbor, workmate, classmate, or fellow church member with whom you need to make peace? Then I suggest you do what God has asked you to do. Go to that person with forgiveness in your heart and "be reconciled." Then your acts of worship will be acceptable and pleasing to God.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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