January 15 (Matthew 5:23-24 NIV)
- “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24. leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
Reconciliation. Relationship. Those are the words that should describe a Christian’s lifestyle. Jesus described what could have been a common situation in His time: a person going to the Temple to make a sacrifice while dealing with a relationship problem. Someone close to them was offended by something they did or said. Someone had a grudge against them for good reasons or bad. Jesus made it clear that reconciliation with that brother or sister is more important than your offering.
I know. You love God and want to make that offering. Besides, your brother was offended over something that you said or did but you were in the right. That wouldn’t matter to Jesus. He would tell you that the relationship is broken and needs to be restored. He doesn’t call on us to be right. He calls on us to find a way to bring reconciliation. We must love our brother enough to do that even if it means swallowing our pride. In the book of First John, the apostle makes the point that if you can’t love your brother whom you have seen, how can you love the God that you haven’t seen? (1 John 5:20)
You might ask, “What could be more important than my relationship with God?” Jesus made it clear that if you don’t have a good relationship with those around you, you can’t have a good relationship with God. This would be a good time to think about those people in your life that might have a grudge against you for one reason or another and take the time to make peace and bring reconciliation. If you have to take the first step when they were in the wrong against you, take heart because that’s what God did when He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.
Lord, help me to examine my relationships and find ways to bring peace with people who are at odds with me. Let me strengthen the relationships I have with family, friends, and all those I come into contact with.