A SECRET WORTH DISCOVERING
Leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.~Matthew 5:24 NKJV
Relationships can be a lot of work. But there’s one secret, that if you remember to do this first, you can resolve conflicts.
Differences of opinion, harsh, cutting words, and ill feelings divide us from each other and God. Reconciliation of relationships is so important to God that He instructs us to do this first before we bring our offerings and worship.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anything to erect a barrier in my relationship with God. I don’t want anything to prevent me from hearing Him or staying His hand of blessing.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
~Romans 12:18 NIV
Humbling ourselves and asking for forgiveness is difficult. It is equally hard to approach someone who has offended us, especially if they are not sorry and have not apologized.
Maturity and a change of heart are necessary to be more passionate about reconciliation than about being right. We must listen to understand, instead of merely hearing so we can prepare a response.
In many cases, we must compromise, where doing so would not dishonor God. When we cannot compromise, we can call to God for help to lovingly choose to agree to disagree. Mutual points of agreement are usually possible, and we can celebrate those things.
If we keep our eyes focused on Christ’s example of self-sacrifice, we can make the first move toward reconciliation, regardless of who is at fault. We can also choose to guard our hearts against bitterness and forgive any careless and hurtful words or actions.
When our foremost hope is to win back a fellow believer, we can exercise self-control by submitting our words and deeds to the leading of God’s Spirit. When we do, regardless of the outcome, our side of the equation gains a clear conscience and a clean slate. Even if our actions are misunderstood or rejected, the Lord can give us joy in obedience.
Finally, we can come before God and receive healing, wisdom, and answers. Once our arms are unburdened of record books of offenses, our hands are free to take hold of His blessings.
If God is silent, examine your heart. Is there a broken relationship in need of mending? Are there hard feelings, bitterness, or guilt standing in the way of a clear conscience, peace, and God’s hand of blessing? If so, before bringing an offering to God, do some work toward reconciliation.
What should you do to make it easier for you to forgive others?
Thank You, Father, for loving me first and making the first move in reconciliation with me. Help me to do the same with others. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Copyright 2022: Do This First: Julie Souza Bradley Lilly: All Rights Reserved