"So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God." Matthew 5:23-24
This scripture has always fascinated me! It is teeming with many lessons, including the fact that God values relationships; God is more concerned about what is in your heart than your external acts of worship, among others. Jesus spoke these words during the famous sermon on the mount while teaching about anger.
Jesus flipped the script in this one. It is understandable to say that if you have something against someone, forgive that person before presenting your offering at the altar. It is a whole different ball game to tell if someone has something against you, you take the initiative to apologize, set things right between you and the person before making your sacrifice.
This means it does not matter whether the person is under an erroneous impression that you have wronged him or her. It does not matter whether you think they are not justified in their feeling of being wronged by you. Jesus says as long as you remember that person is holding something against you, you fix it. That can be tough. It would be easy to say well if he is holding something against me, that is his problem, not mine. Nope, Jesus says it does not matter whether the other person is right or wrong; it is your job to take the initiative to settle things. Really, Jesus? Yep!
This is a practical illustration of Romans 12:18 and Hebrews 12:14, where it says we should do all in our power to live at peace with everyone! Jesus was also reminding us in this verse that to obey is better than sacrifice!
God wants us to build healthy, godly relationships with the people around us, especially our fellow Christians. He wants us to be quick to forgive to make way for His forgiveness towards us. He wants us to put the other person's feelings above our own and to be more interested in seeking reconciliation at all times! He is teaching us to choose humility above haughtiness.
Before you lift your hands in worship, before you place that fat check in the offering box, be sure you have resolved any conflicts you are aware of. Otherwise, none of what you are doing for God really matters!
Love, Lady Mo ❤.