Jesus said, “So if you happen to be in the act of offering up your gift on the altar, but, while there, remember that your brother or sister is holding something against you, leave your gift right there in front of the altar. First go off to be reconciled with the person concerned, then come back and offer up your gift.”
— Matthew 5:23-24 (USC)
Complementary are these two verses of Scripture with verse 22, even though they each appear to be coming at the issue of anger from two opposite sides.
The onus for reconciliation always remains with the person who is aware of the conflict – and both/all parties should be aware. There should hence be a heart in all parties to reconcile, which is to make of the past an exercise in learning and humility – to focus on the log in one’s own eye and not focus on the speck in theirs.
I am of the view, having been involved in leadership in several organisations, that these two verses, above, are two of the most important verses in the whole Bible. That is, because they offer a challenge to everyone who believes Jesus is Lord; the fruit of such belief is the want and willingness to reconcile with an aggrieved brother or sister, no matter what that takes. To do that first.
It is foolish to take account of great sweeps of theology and broad-brushes of ethics and every nuance of apologetics and miss the relational imperative.
The basic things come first. The milk of our obedience we must readily drink in order that one day we will be able to stomach the exotic meats of the relational gospel.
Nobody can say that they are committed disciples of Jesus and so willingly hold a grudge. If any of us has anything against anyone, on that final day, Jesus might as well call us a liar.
These truths will upset us if we are still on the throne of our lives.
But these truths will liberate us from ourselves if we can subjugate our pride, as we place Jesus up on high, where only he belongs.
A commitment to reconciliation costs. It will certainly cost us our pride, which will feel like we are losing our dignity. But we can only retain our dignity if we reconcile. Dignity only has value when we are at peace with our brothers and sisters.
QUESTIONS in REVIEW:
1. Who is it that you bear a grudge against, and what have they done? What is required of you in dealing with the matter (Micah 6:8)?
2. Where will you go for help if your anger threatens to spill over into the court of life? It is a great wisdom to have someone to go to. Do you have someone like that?
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.
Note: USC version is Under the Southern Cross, The New Testament in Australian English (2014). This translation was painstakingly developed by Dr. Richard Moore, a NT Greek scholar, over nearly thirty years.