“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First, be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
The Presence of God is discovered in the Way of God. Obedience is the hallmark of those who desire Him above all other things. They leave no stone unturned and respond to every move of His Spirit within as the way of life. Only the religious offer gifts of prayer and worship unaffected by their relationships with others while oblivious of His Presence and the desire of His heart.
“Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto
God in the heavens”
The work of our hands is to be the extension of our hearts. In His Presence, we will be sensitive to His Way. If we are aware of an issue, our heart moves towards resolution. It is the desire of all those who “walk in His Spirit” to please Him. Outside of this, there is no moving toward reconciliation.
My relationship with my brother or sister is a reflection of my true relationship with God.
“If anyone says, “I love God,”
and hates* his brother, he is a liar…”
1 John 4:20
The Greek word translated “hates” (*see note below) means to love less, to hold ill will, or to speak or work maliciously towards another. The deception of religion is that it desensitizes the human soul to the presence of God. It is like the fig leaves of Adam’s attempt to cover his nakedness before the Lord. Internal wrong is covered by declarations of His forgiveness rather than receiving the true covering of Christ’s life by which we participate in His work of reconciliation.
The One to whom all worship is due tells us: “first be reconciled to your brother”. Those who honor His Word live by His Word. Those who declare they love His word, but do not walk in its power and influence, deceive themselves. Deception is anything that clouds our sensitivity to His moving within our hearts.
Reconciliation is an issue of our hearts. Its truth and power do not rest upon the attitude of another.
“God was in Christ,
reconciling the world unto himself…”
2 Corinthians 5:19
The heart and intent of God in Christ was reconciliation. The finished work of God concerning the reconciliation of the WORLD unto Himself reflects this. Though man may reject this work it remains a steadfast reality in God. So also, with us. There may be situations where we, in obedience, seek reconciliation with our brother but there is no reciprocation. We must hold the truth of that Divine grace regardless of the attitude of others. Reconciliation rests in Christ and as we live in Him, we bear His heart to the world around us.
The full power of God is released when both parties give and receive the wonder of God’s work. Unity is the atmosphere wherein God dwells. When He reigns in the hearts of His people, the schisms, the divisions, and the strife of men cease.
“Only by pride cometh contention”
Humility and Obedience
Obedience is the highest expression of humility. Only a humble heart can obey the will of God. The arrogant and stubborn heart will speak of God but by their actions refuse to obey Him.
“They profess that they know God;
but in works they deny him…”
Let us consider the humility of Jesus as he was obedient even unto death in relation to our own walk of obedience.
“…He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death,
even the death of the cross”
In the working out of our reconciliation with our brothers and sisters we are in truth working out the reality of our reconciliation unto God. As my heart becomes compliant with His I grow and become more like Him. If I fail to forgive my brother, I hinder my own flow of forgiveness from Him. God measures my walk by the measure of His heart that I walk in towards others.
“But if ye forgive not men their trespasses,
neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”
Let us not measure our life by our beliefs but by the measure which God uses to measure our life in Him.
“Blessed are the merciful:
for they shall obtain mercy“
In the economy of God, the graces we give determine the graces we receive.
“First be reconciled to your brother,
and then come and offer your gift”
*Note: Hate (μισέω)
“miséō; contracted misṓ, fut. misḗsō. To hate. With the acc. of person, usually implying active ill will in words and conduct, a persecuting spirit”
“The Complete Word Study Dictionary”: New Testament by Spiros Zodhiates