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.
We can see how important to Jesus is our reconciliation with one another. There have been many divisions within the church caused by people refusing to seek healing of those divisions. We must not underestimate the divisions that are caused by people refusing to be loyal to the truth of Jesus and the gospel.
From the earliest times there have been trouble makers within the church who have sought to bring in teaching that is not of Jesus. In the New Testament we know that there were times when reconciliation was difficult, if not impossible to achieve.
Paul wrote to Titus advising him how to deal with those who were bringing divisive teaching:
If anyone is causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with that person – Titus 3.10 (NLT).
Reconciliation and bringing someone back from error must always be the first thing that we seek to do. Yet we must be aware that this will not always be possible. Regrettably this may mean a permanent rupture in our relationship with the one who is being divisive.
We must continue to pray for them, seeking that the light of Jesus will shine into their hearts so that they may be convicted by the Holy Spirit of their error and so come to repentance.
We need to also realize that Jesus is talking about a Jew who had gone into the temple, and he had brought his offering with him; he is ready to present his offering, and the priest is waiting to receive it. It is at this critical moment that Jesus says it is the time to remember if he had given any cause for his brother to be offended.
As we come to our times of worship, whether it is on a Sunday morning or some other time, we need to search our hearts to see if we have done anything to offend someone. If so, even at that late stage, we should go and seek to be reconciled.
This may not be easy, and it may be embarrassing, but it is the command of Jesus that we should seek to be reconciled, just as He has reconciled us with the Father.