The woman was sobbing so hard on the other end of the telephone line that I could hardly understand her words. But as she calmed down, I finally learned what she was talking about.
I had spoken at her church three days earlier. When teaching about Jesus’ command to go and be reconciled to anyone who has something against us (Matt. 5:23-24), I urged the class not to delay, because we never know how long we’ll have the opportunity to make things right.
The woman on the phone had been in my class. When she heard my teaching, she immediately thought of her sister. They had quarreled four years earlier and hadn’t spoken to each other since. She knew my warning applied to her, but she dragged her feet.
Two days after the class, her sister was killed in a car accident. They would never experience restoration in this life.
I did my best to console her with the promise of eternal reconciliation in Christ, but that did not remove the intense, present grief she felt because of her failure to be restored to her sister in this life.
Don’t make the same mistake yourself.
Is there someone out there who might have something against you? Jesus commands you to go and be reconciled. Now. Today.
“If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matt. 5:23-24).
Notice that he doesn’t say “if your brother has something big and justifiable against you.” His command applies to offenses that you might view as being trivial or unjustified. He does not give you the option of dismissing it. If an offense might still weigh on another, Jesus says “go.”
Now. Today. Before it’s too late.
– Ken Sande
- Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:23-24 implies that being reconciled to others should take priority even over going to worship God. Why would he give it such priority? (See Matt. 5:21-22; 1John 4:20-21; John 13:34-35; John 17:22-23)
- What is it that makes us delay and avoid going to others when we know they have something against us?
- How does God sometimes discipline us until we obey this command? (see Ps. 32:3-5)
- How can reflecting on the gospel motivate us to be the ones who initiate reconciliation even if we don’t see ourselves as being at fault? (see Romans 5:6-8).
- Do you need guidance on how to go to someone to confess or forgive a wrong and to be reconciled? Click here for some short articles on key elements of reconciliation. For a more detailed discussion of these concepts, see The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict. And if you are still unsure of how to approach another person, go to your pastor, an elder, or a relationally wise friend for advice and prayer support.
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© 2014 Ken Sande
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