The Gospel of Matthew: Anger. Part Two.

23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” Matthew 5:23–24 ESV)

Jesus taught that it is not only sufficient to confess anger as sin, but also to make things right with an offended brother or sister in Christ. This involves not only our discipline within the believing community but also in the greater societal community. Today’s text addresses the former.

When we enter into the place for corporate worship, and remember that there is an unreconciled issue with another believer in Christ, then we need to immediately resolve to reconcile with that individual. Our worship will not honor and glorify God if we fail to correct the sinful situation. Reconciliation in this situation brings honor and glory to God. It becomes an example of worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

“Reconciliation with the person who has something against you must take precedence even over offering one’s gift in worship. The one who initiates the reconciliation here is the one who has wronged the other person,” explains Dr. John MacArthur.

It should be noted that today’s text does not say if you have something against another brother in Christ, but rather if another believer in Christ has an issue with you. Individuals are quick to recognize when someone offends them, but slow to acknowledge when they offend others. We need to do what is necessary.

However, it must be admitted that there are people who become offended whenever someone does something in which they disagree or find fault. It may be eating red meat, wearing shorts, listening to contemporary Christian music, playing nine holes of golf on Sunday, or not only watching television but even having one in your home. These individuals always have an opinion, and in their view their opinion is always correct.

“Judaism stressed reconciliation between individuals; God would not accept an outward offering if one had oppressed or mistreated one’s neighbor and did not make it right. In the Old Testament God accepted only sacrifices offered with a pure heart toward him and one’s neighbor (Gen 4:4–7; Prov. 15:8; Is 1:10–15; Jer. 6:20; Amos 5:21–24),” explains commentator Craig Keener.

There will always be self-appointed legalists who believe it is there mission and ministry to point out the faults of others. Discernment from the Lord is needful in such situations and with such individuals. Jesus encountered them and so will we. Let us resolve not to be one.

I encourage y0u to read Romans 12:9-21. Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Soli deo Gloria!

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