“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
Peace. I offer you peace. But peace does not happen accidentally. It requires effort. Our natural bent is to put it off because it is simply too painful, to uncomfortable to engage in the conversations needed. “Settle matters quickly.” We make excuses as to why we should wait.
We avoid healthy conflict, but no face mask can prevent the damage that can be done through this practice. Research shows us that avoiding the conflict leads to a whole host of physical health issues. Families are destroyed because we don’t address the issues that are in our faces. Our minds become warped by our thoughts of revenge. But the most damaging is to our spirit.
Remember we were designed for a perfect life in the garden. Peace should be surrounding us. Contentment is in our wiring. However, sin came in and broke that peace. Our sin was a declaration of war against God. When we live in conflict with our brothers and sisters we are in conflict with God.
How often have I been in church, nursing a grudge? I feel angry and embittered over some slight real or imagined. In the darkness of my mind I have contemplated evil against my enemy, maybe even while I am there in church. While you are at the altar. While I am worshipping and recognize this anger welling up within me, I must go make things right.
Make peace. Sometimes you will be wronged, forgive anyway. Go make things right and then return to church and worship in Spirit and in Truth.
GRM offers a webinar on Restoring Peace where you can learn to become a peacemaker. Peacemaker is a role that our world needs today more than ever.