Go and be Reconciled (12-02-22)
Bible Reading: Matthew 5:23-24, 18:15-16
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.
If your brother or sister sins against you, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'
Disagreements happen! Whether it is in families, between friends, in the community or in the church, we won't all agree all the time. We will do things that hurt or upset someone else, and they will do something that will hurt or upset us. The question then comes, if we want to restore our relationships, who should make the first move, the offender or the offended?
The answer, according to Jesus, seems to be you – and me!
In these two passages from Matthew’s gospel, Jesus is giving different examples of disagreements. In the first is seems that someone, in going to worship in the temple, remembers that someone else has a grievance against them. Before making his offering at the altar, Jesus says that the offender should first go and be reconciled to the offended.
In the second example of a disagreement, Jesus says that the one who has been sinned against should make the first move; the offended should go and be reconciled to the offender, and only if that is not successful should they then involve someone else to help find a resolution.
Clearly at the heart of Jesus’ teaching is a desire for peace and reconciliation at all levels, and each one of us has a responsibility to facilitate this wherever we can. The important point is that reconciliation happens, and the relationships are restored, not who sets the ball rolling
Working for reconciliation is rarely easy, which is probably why Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers.’ But working for peace and for the restoration of relationships is at the very heart of God. When we were alienated from God, cut off by the sin in our lives, it was God the Son who made the first move. He came to this earth to live among us and to die in our place so that we could be forgiven and so that our relationship with God could be restored.
St Paul takes this thought further when he says, ‘All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation’ (2 Corinthians 5:18).
By the grace that Jesus freely bestowed on us, we have been reconciled to God. Let us then take the initiative and continue his work of reconciliation, whether we are the offender or the offended.
Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me bring Your love;
Where there is injury, Your pardon, Lord;
And where there’s doubt, true faith in You.
Make me a channel of your peace