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. Matthew 5:23-24
Jesus describes a worshipper who has come to offer a gift to God, but has breached a relationship with a brother or a sister. This gift is unacceptable to the Lord until the one presenting the gift is reconciled to the one more valuable to God than the offering. It is inconsistent to seek reconciliation with God without first seeking reconciliation with those the Lord has placed in our life. We ask forgiveness from the one we offended on earth, before we ask forgiveness from God in heaven.
In prayer or worship, who clouds your mind with concern over a disconnected relationship? Who does the Holy Spirit lay on your heart, who has something against you? Maybe you made an insensitive remark that hurt a friend’s heart. Or, you forgot to invite an individual to a special occasion and they felt ignored and rejected. Perhaps a business relationship went awry and you need to ask forgiveness for being greedy. Go quickly, humble yourself and ask forgiveness. The amount of time it takes to seek reconciliation is an indicator of how closely you walk with Christ.
We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 1 John 4:19-21
Forgiveness cannot sit still until hearts are healed. Initiative accompanies love. Sometimes it is helpful to write out what you are feeling and how you want to express your contrite heart. You may or may not send the written correspondence, but at the very least it becomes a guide for your conversation. Moreover, make sure to own your offense by not saying, “If I have offended you.” Instead, say, “Please forgive me for hurting you. I was mad, my tone was wrong. I apologize.” Godly sorrow goes a long way toward facilitating forgiveness from the one offended.
Yes, your efforts to reconcile may be rebuffed, but you can only give up on someone when your Savior Jesus has given up on them. Also, your restitution may be required before reconciliation will take place. Pray about ways for you to replace what your friend lost, since they felt they were being used. Like Zacchaeus (see Luke 19:8), be extremely generous in your pay back. Most of all, you honor Christ when you take the time to be His minister of reconciliation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:17-19
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the courage and conviction to seek out those I offend and ask for their forgiveness.
Related Readings: Proverbs 21:24; Matthew 6:14-15; Luke 23:34; 2 Corinthians 7:11; 1 John 2:9
Post/Tweet today: The amount of time it takes to seek reconciliation is an indicator of how closely we walk with Christ. #askforgivenessfast
© 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
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