READ: Matthew 5:21-26
- Verses 23-24 call attention to the Old Testament law that murderers could be removed from the altar of God. Only Jesus turns the idea on its head. Jesus says if we believe that a brother or sister has something against us, we should leave the altar and seek reconciliation. Then we can return to offer our gift. We shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss this image just because we don’t have to go to a temple with a lamb or goat.
- If at no other time, you can certainly imagine yourself at the altar of God in worship. It might be as you are offering a song of praise, or, more likely, as you are about to share in the Lord’s Supper. It could be as you put your offering in the tray (box, bag). You might see yourself offering something to God and realizing there is someone (possibly in your house or in the worship area with you) that you know is angered or offended by something you’ve said or done.
- So, what do you do? Jesus makes it simple. Hold off on your offering, go, and make reconciliation. It’s that simple. Not easy; simple. Knowing what God wants is usually pretty straightforward. Doing what God wants becomes a bit more complicated. It may well be a good first step in getting your anger under control. If you can’t even sing or give or take the Lord’s Supper before you fix this, then you may be driven to get it fixed.
- Whom do you know that you need to speak with?
- What if you feel as if you are the one who needs to be spoken to?
- When was the last time you “left the altar” to repair a relationship? What happened?
PRAY: Thank God for those who’ve sought to restore relationships with you. Pray that you are courageous enough to repair the broken relationships in your life. Ask God to help you see what needs to be done.