"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at 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; then come and offer your gift." (Matthew 5:23-24)
- Jewish practice of offering gifts
- As someone has said, "An offense against your neighbor builds a fence between you and God."
- Every Conflict is an Opportunity. When we're faced with friction, look for ways to glorify God, seek the good of the other, and then get ready to grow.
- Judging the Right Way. (Ptr. Jong) We can't judge someone's heart or motives because we all have sin. But we can judge correctly based on God's standard. (2nd Sunday)
- Anger can hinder our worship.
- Peacemaking is very personal.
- Friction in the family must be dealt with.
- Internal attitude is more important than external offering.
I. Setting for Peace
- Make it right when God reminds you.
- Initiate reconciliation whether it's your fault or not.
II. Steps to Peace
(Outline from Brian Bill)
1. Leave...even when it's inconvenient. "...leave your gift there in front of the altar..."
The Principle: Gifts derive their value from the heart of the giver.
2. Go...even when you don't want to initiate. "...First go..."
The Principle: Reconciliation is always my responsibility.
Here's why this is such a big deal to God: He cares about you and the person you're in conflict with and wants to use you to lift the load of hatred from your brother or sister.
3. Be...even when you feel innocent. "...and be reconciled to your brother..."
"The Seven A's" (www.peacemaker.net):
- Address everyone involved (All those whom you affected).
- Avoid if, but, and maybe (Do not try to excuse your wrongs).
- Admit specifically (Both attitudes and actions).
- Acknowledge the hurt (Express sorrow for hurting someone).
- Accept the consequences (Such as making restitution).
- Alter your behavior (Change your attitudes and actions).
- Ask for forgiveness (Request release from the debt).
4. Come...even when it's an interruption. "...then come and offer your gift"
The Principle: A right relationship with God depends on our willingness to maintain a right relationship with one another.
|"True worship is enhanced by better relationships... worship may be improved by our staying away from church until we have made things right with those with whom we know our relationship is strained or broken." (MacArthur)|
III. Action Steps
1. Assess yourself. Give yourself a grade of 1 to 10 in each area.
- I forgive others when their actions harm me.
- I admit my wrongs in relationships and humbly seek forgiveness.
- I seek to be in harmony with other members of my family.
- I place the interests of others above my self-interest.
- I am gentle and kind in my interactions with others.
2. Resolve conflict quickly.
- "Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way..." (Matthew 5:25)
- The time for reconciliation is always today.
- "Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry." (Ephesians 4:26)
- Loose ends make for tight knots. Who do you need to see today?
3. Make harmony during times of reflection. e.g. communion, prayer and fasting, revival times, etc.4. Do your part to improve worship. - Ptr. Lito Sese