First things first – Hope 103.2

First things first

Read Matthew 5:23-24 23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. (NLT)Tying ourselves into knots about […]

By David ReayTuesday 19 Apr 2016LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 2 minutes

Read Matthew 5:23-24

23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. (NLT)

Tying ourselves into knots about how to literally apply Jesus’ teaching means we may miss out on the deeper principle. It just may not be practicable, wise or even possible to literally leave a place of worship and rush off to be reconciled with another person. They may not be around the place. And what is more, you alone can’t guarantee reconciliation: it takes two to achieve that.

But acknowledging the difficulties of taking this literally does not get us off the hook. There may be cases where we may feel compelled to stop what we are doing and seek reconciliation as an utmost priority. Yet in most cases we can apply the principle more broadly. And the principle is this: don’t imagine that your displays of religious ritual can cover up the relational issues facing you. Singing our love songs to God and saying our prayers and making notes of the sermon will not remove the need to seek to live at peace with others. Being at peace may not be possible, but we must do our bit to make it possible.

In practice, we may find ourselves convicted of a fractured relationship during a church gathering. We do well to resolve to seek to mend that as soon as is practicable and wise. We don’t bury the problem beneath the language and action of corporate worship.

Our relationship to God can be affected by our relationships with others. Who can tell what impact our own impaired relationships with others have on our meeting together? The problem may not lie in the preacher or the song leader or the shape of the children’s programme. The problem may lie closer to home.

Blessings
David Reay