Matthew 5.23-24 cont.
23 If then you are bringing your gift to the alter and should remember that your brother has something against you,
24 you must leave your gift there before the altar, and firstly be reconciled to your brother. Then come and offer your gift.
One of the prime messages of the gospel of Jesus is to bring people to God, and to one another.
Jesus came to save sinners, and this means to reconcile us to our Heavenly Father. It is not His will that anyone should be estranged from Him. He wants us all to enjoy fellowship with Him, to take pleasure in being in His presence.
Likewise it is His desire that we should live in peace with one another, and to remove any barriers that may exist between us.
In the world there are a number of organizations that are devoted to bringing people together; they are committed to facilitating reconciliation. There are those organisations that seek to bring couples together; Relate, is one such organization. ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) is an agency that helps employers and the employed to resolves differences. The United Nations tries to bring warring nations together to settle their differences through diplomatic means.
Jesus tells us that it is our responsibility to seek reconciliation with those who have something against us. We are the ones to make the first move to bring a resolution to differences that someone else may hold against us.
All too often we will hear people say that they are waiting for the other person to make the first move.
Jesus does not entertain that idea. Instead He tells us that before we can worship, and before we can bring our offerings to God we must go and be reconciled with a brother that has something against us.
These may be uncomfortable words, because it is easier to distance ourselves from those who hold a grudge against us.
God has given us the supreme example of doing this.
Once we were the enemies of God, we were against God, we may even have held a grudge against Him, but out of His great mercy He came to us in Jesus and sought us out so that we might become His friends.
For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of His Son while we were still His enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by His life – Romans 5.10 (NLT).