taking pains to be (and remain) reconciled

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

Matthew 5

There are times which try people’s souls. And events as in what people do and fail to do, including the words said. Most of the time we can look past the errors of others, even as we hope they look past our own mistakes and missteps. There are times when for a number of reasons we should hold someone accountable. Jesus said that if a brother or sister sins against you, but repents, we should forgive them, not just the seven times spoken by Peter in his question, but seventy-seven times (or seventy times seven), a hyperbole meaning always. Jesus did say that if our brother or sister sins, we should rebuke them, and if they repent, we should forgive them. So there is an accountability needed which isn’t easy on either side. It’s so much easier to let a lot of things go which actually ought to be addressed. On the other hand, love does cover over a multitude of sins, so there are plenty of things we can let go of, and simply pray about, or not take personally, perhaps seeing past the words to what is really going on in a person’s heart, their struggle. Of course we need wisdom and plenty of it. I get into trouble if I act too much on my own instead of seeking the wisdom from God that I need.

We need to learn to be supersensitive in the right way, by the Spirit toward the other in the way of Jesus in discerning what we should and should not do. And that would include what thoughts we should entertain, and what other thoughts we should summarily dismiss. If we can learn to do that, or to the extent that we can, we’ll avoid major headaches and heartaches, since the Lord won’t let us off the hook over broken or damaged relationships. Of course the peace we’re told to pursue in scripture does not necessarily mean a reconciliation with an offending or offended party, who themselves want no part of a healthy and full reconciliation. In some cases that will be completely impossible. We need discernment in wisdom in these cases, to know what lines to draw, and where to draw them. But by and large there are matters we’ll need to address in regard to others who are offended (or have offended). We do well to do so in a manner which is not about justifying ourselves, but about getting at both the truth and love, together. As we prayerfully attempt to do so, the Lord can honor and bless even our stumbling, halting, yet sincere effort and follow through to address a matter of actual high importance to him, which therefore should be highly important to us. While seeking to avoid such problems in the future when possible. In our life together, the common life in Jesus.


3 comments on “taking pains to be (and remain) reconciled

  1. nmpreach says:

    Good stuff Ted! I appreciate your mentioning discernment. If and when to speak is important. Sometimes the Spirit uses us and sometimes conviction or accountability comes in other ways.

    I also think it important to remember timing. For example, the Spirit tells us to address a situation with a brother or sister. Our next question should be, “Now or at another time?” I think we forego this question too often and at times do more harm than good. If we speak too early, we’re out of line. If we wait too late, we fail as well. Whereas God’s timing is always perfect, I should also make sure my discernment – even with timing – is appropriate.

    • Thanks, nmpreach. Good point! Yes, I have thought of that before. I think the mistake would be especially when we’re in a hurry to do it, instead of taking it in prayer sufficiently beforehand. Having said that, I do think it’s better to err on the side of getting it done, then delaying it. We should immediately stop our mouths, but when we do fail, it doesn’t hurt to immediately acknowledge that, and say we’re sorry, and/or ask for forgiveness, and acknowledge we’re wrong and why. Then we should pray afterward. But perhaps best to spend some time beforehand in prayer, which often will end up being what we should do anyhow, since we may have justified ourselves and failed to do that at the time of the incident. Just my own thought now on that. What do you think?

      • Mike says:

        Agreed Brother! Bathing it in prayer beforehand is ideal. However, when we do allow the tongue to “go before us,” we can rest in God’s grace. Discernment is paramount. Again, good post!

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