So what is this passage really saying?

"Therefore if thou bringest thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar and go thy way; First be reconciled to thy brother and then come offer thy gift" (Matthew 5:23, 24).

It seems like many of us in the Kingdom are far too quick to dismiss other brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ--particularly those we have had conflict with in the past. I'm no stranger to this phenomenon....nor am I "lily-white" from all the guilt that can be associated with it.

The congregation where I grew up in the mid-late 1970s emphasized the biblical commands on good relationships in the Body. It seems that we knew that we had BETTER be in good relationship with our fellow believers, and that God would expect and accept no less.

Doesn't seem to be that way anymore.

Someone whom I considered a good friend for several years has decided that I'm nothing more than a "manipulator" and a "coward"--in his words. Of course he didn't have the courage to say this to my face. He used other means. He lives here in Chicago...and I even attended his wedding a few weeks ago--since I received a personal invitation from him.

His accusations are baseless, and he's only following the lead of someone who now holds me in low regard, even though that wasn't always the case.

I don't like conflict...really I don't. But even less do I like people who can hurl accusations and falsehoods with impugnity--just because they are in a "professional ministry" position.

At one time, this brother considered me a good friend. Has eaten at my house, has prayed with more many times as a brother, and has asked my advice on a number of issues. We have been close....

That obviously isn't the case any more.

So, when do we reconcile?

Maybe we need to "save those gifts" for a while, until we do.

No comments: