“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment…Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”
Last week we began with the children’s game Simon says. Pretty basic. But when we start talking about Jesus says, it suddenly is grey instead of black and white. We begin to think that we can choose not to do what he says, but just talk about it or study it. Jesus is quite clear; our obedience is measured in doing what He says. I wanted to look at some of the things Jesus says, and what they might mean for us.
Have you ever seen someone walk out of church to go find someone they hold a grudge with before? If anything it is fairly common to find grudges in the pews of a church just like you might find in a family. Some of these are epic, rivaling the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s, spanning years and generations, sometimes for reasons that we don’t even remember. Jesus takes a strong stance on conflict between people: unacceptable. Not because Jesus wants to be difficult, but because He understands that your conflict with someone else spills into your relationship with God. Jesus challenges us to make reconciliation a high priority that he suggests reconciling before coming to God. Jesus makes clear your offering to God of yourself, your gifts and your talents is hindered by your human grudges, so first take care of that, the come present yourself to God.
I don’t believe Jesus is suggesting we all stay home from church until we have perfect relationships. Instead, I believe He is putting reconciliation as a high priority. Just think, Jesus’ primary ministry was to die on the cross, so that we might be RECONCILED to God. Reconciliation is Jesus primary ministry. If God did all this so that your sins might be reconciled and forgiven, the least we can do is try to say sorry and extend an olive branch to those we don’t see eye to eye with.
- Who is someone that you need to reach out to and to reconcile with? How long has this conflict been going on?
- What is your greatest anxiety or fear about reconciliation?
- What, “Jesus says” do you want to see me write about?