Before we remembered our Lord’s death and resurrection by taking communion together, I wanted to share a little bit about reconciliation with the congregation I was serving last week. I want to share with you as well.
‘So then, if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother and then come and present your gift.’ Matthew 5:23-24
Author Howard Zehr says,
“When and why do people seek reconciliation? If individuals or communities value a relationship, then it becomes imperative for them not to let a wound fester. Sometimes, reconciliation becomes necessary as the individuals need to share same social space. A human being is not merely collection bones, liquids and chemicals. A human being is also a collection of memories. Our memories (good, bad, pleasant and painful) determine our actions and approach to relationships. Reconciliation is a mechanism of addressing memories which are not pleasant and healthy.
Often, in the daily usage, the word ‘reconcile’ is deployed to mean that an individual(s) or community(ies) should accept the state of affairs as they are and must learn to live with it. To subsist with pain caused by broken relationships indicates a life not fully lived. Therefore, to reconcile should mean something more than to plough through life with a collection of painful memories.”
In the biblical context, reconciliation is equated more to a financial transaction. If someone has something against you, a slight or resentment, believe you owe them some sort of debt, emotional, spiritual, or physical, if you are taking space in someone’s brain rent-free. Clean up your side of the street. Offer what amends you can, whether it’s really your fault or not, do your part to restore the relationship. Forgive, as you have already been forgiven by God. The rest is up to Him to work on the other person’s heart. But sometimes, through our own behavior, we become someone else’s stumbling block before they approach God.
We need to try to be reconciled and represent our Lord and Savior so as to be a light to draw people to Him, not a putrid stench to drive them away.