Are you angry with a brother? Offended at a sister? Are you avoiding her? When you hear the song, “We Can Work It Out” do you say, ‘Yeah sure we can’? We can be tempted to think that if we ignore anger, it will just go away. But it won?t. Like an untreated wound, it gets more infected if we fail to deal with it.
In Matthew 5:21-26 Jesus says:
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.”
UNRECONCILED RELATIONSHIPS LEAVE US LIABLE TO JUDGMENT
First Jesus says ?You have heard that it was said to those of old? ? the OT law said – ?that whoever murders is liable to judgment.? Of course. ?But now Jesus puts three other things in the same class as murder: being angry with a brother, insulting a brother, calling a brother a fool. ?Anger with a brother is murder in the heart and makes us liable to the judgment of hell. ?Serious business.
Unreconciled relationships expose us to judgment, so Jesus commands us to deal with relational strains quickly. Especially if you know that someone has something against you. Don’t wait. Take care of it now. Go and seek to be reconciled
RECONCILIATION TAKES PRECEDENCE OVER WORSHIP
In verses 23 and 24 Jesus says,
?So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.?
Even if we are right in the middle of worship and remember we?re unreconciled with someone we should stop what we’re doing, “leave your gift there before the altar” and GO. “FIRST” ? before you worship ? “be reconciled to your brother, and THEN” ? after that ? “come and offer your gift.”. Reconciliation takes precedence over worship.
Maybe you don’t think you’ve sinned against him, but he certainly believes you did – he “has something against you. ?But that’s his problem you say. No! Jesus says: ?Leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.?
What Jesus implies is that unresolved conflicts hinder worship. God won’t accept our songs and prayers if we tolerate broken relationships and let offences divide us.
Keep short accounts. Deal with offences quickly. “Do not let the sun go down on your anger. And give no opportunity to the devil.” (Eph. 4:26-27). When we let anger fester, it gives Satan the opportunity to tempt us to bitterness and ruin our relationships. ?It gives him the opportunity to tempt us to slander and gossip and hate in our heart.
So Jesus says “GO!” Now. ?Before the sun sets. ?Even if you’re in the middle of worship. Keep short accounts. Does this mean we leave in the middle of a song Sunday and drive to someone’s house to be reconciled? Not necessarily, but we should work toward reconciliation as quickly as possible.
If you know someone has a problem with you go to him. Humble yourself. Try to see your sin. Listen to him. Don’t be defensive. ?If you see your sin ask forgiveness. If you can’t see it, don’t write him off ? tell him you want to see your sin, that you’ll pray about it and if you do see it you want to ask his forgiveness. ?It’s hard to go to someone who’s offended at us. Sometimes they unload on us. But failing to try to reconcile?can have disastrous consequences. In verses 25 and 26 Jesus says:
Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
If we don’t try to work things out with people, it can get much worse down the road. So come to terms quickly!
If every church practiced this what unity, joy and blessing we?d see. What a witness it would be to our children and the world. Is there anyone who has something against you? Anyone you?re not reconciled with? Humble yourself, go to them, and seek to be reconciled.