Sunday Message -- January 13, 2013
‘Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift’ (Matthew 5:23, 24).
These words are the words of Jesus himself. If you bring a gift to the altar and remember that your fellow brother in the body of Christ has something against you – in other words you have done something to harm or hurt your brother – you are to leave your gift at the altar and first be reconciled to your brother.
Jesus doesn’t say ‘first worship’ but ‘first be reconciled’ to your brother. Jesus is saying, ‘First obey me by obeying my command to be reconciled to your brother.’
It is so much easier to be reconciled to God. We can confess our sins in our personal prayer closet where no one else can hear but to be reconciled to our brother means we have to push through our pride and in a way, publicly admit what we have done. We must confess our sin to our brother, repent of our sin and ask for pardon.
We find that at times the church is not on fire with a holy passion for Christ. One reason for this is that we are not reconciled to our brother. We put on happy faces and pretend that all is well but we are not in obedience to the will of God.
Paul said, ‘Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap’ (Galatians 6:7). This is a self-deception on our part and in our minds we deceive ourselves as we carry on a conversation in our minds saying, ‘What I did to my brother wasn’t so bad, in fact he wasn’t hurt at all.’
If the love of God is working in our hearts, we will make an immediate effort to make things right with our brother. In the light of I Corinthians 13, we find that we all fall short of the perfect love of Christ. We will at one time or another hurt our brother but our relationship can be healed with humility and love in our hearts through confession, repentance and pardon.
One more thing, if your brother refuses to forgive you, you have before God done all that you can to make things right. It is no longer your burden to bear, simply pray for your brother in hopes for future reconciliation.