KEY SCRIPTURE Matthew 5:24
Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
I recently heard a person express profound regret at his unfortunate anger and choice of words sprayed over his brother. After that, no word was spoken between them for the next 18 YEARS.
The trigger was the parent's Will when some family members thought they were entitled to more than the others. Then the guy discharged his injurious outburst, causing the immense rift which lasted till now.
After hearing a sermon at church, the guy felt convicted about the long-term family split and the words he used. God reminded him, and his prideful heart was finally rent in two. Despite the long passage of time, he knew he could not take communion that day until he reconciled with his brother.
The man called at his brother's home to express reconciliation. This plea wasn't a B Grade settlement bloated with blame, such as, "Well, you started it!" or "I'm forgiving you for contesting the Will." It was pure-hearted, "Will you please forgive me for what I said?"
Commendably, the brother welcomed him in, and they reinstated the relationship. Only he and God know why it took 18 years, but his last comment still echoes in my mind, "Forgive as soon as you can. Don't leave it as I did."
It takes a humble heart to ask forgiveness. On the other hand, a proud heart consistently makes excuses and attributes the cause to other people or circumstances.
The spirit of meekness underpins sincere requests for mercy. Yet, many people can't bring themselves to forgive others or ask forgiveness, whether family or not. Unjustifiably, they think they are clean before God and right in their decisions. They can maintain that stance for years, as did this guy. But pride, not righteousness, is the driver of such separations.
Jesus himself spoke the scripture that convicted this person to leave his gift at the altar and reconcile. Meaning that a gift to God, whether in offerings, tithes or time, is less critical in this instance than reconciliation.
PRAYER Dear Lord, thank you for this person's wonderful testimony. It's hard to understand why it took him 18 years until I look at forgiveness issues I've left hanging through pride. Thanks for showing me how to ask forgiveness.
Photo by Malanie Stander