Reconcile before you worship

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Matthew 5

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

So much of our life revolves around the attitudes of our hearts.  You can be at work doing your job and smiling at everyone yet in turmoil on the inside because of a situation at home.  People ask how you are and you say you are fine while your inner attitude is not fine at all.  Then there are those people to whom we smile on the outside but are throwing daggers at on the inside.  But since we never really divulge our true feelings we think that all is well.   Is it?

Jesus did not put aside the law; in fact, Jesus took the law of God to a higher level.  Just because I have never murdered anyone does not mean that I am not guilty of continual anger and inner rage leading to evil thoughts about that person.  No, I would never plot their death but I might not be upset if I heard that they died.  Jesus, knowing the abilities of our hearts, gives us a very stern warning here.  Jesus lets us know in no uncertain terms that inner anger and inner hatred are the same as outward murder.  No, you won’t go to jail for those thoughts but God is keeping a different record book.  God says that those who live with hate-filled hearts are in danger of the fires of hell.  A stern warning indeed.

So then Jesus gives a remedy.  When you come to make a sacrifice to God and on your way you remember this person or these people who fill you with anger and hateful thoughts, go to them, seek their forgiveness, and be reconciled with them.  Once reconciled then go back to your worship with a clean heart before man and God.  Notice that Jesus does not say which side of the relational page you are one, whether you are the offended or the offender, he just calls you to go and to reconcile with the one you are at odds with.

What kind of a church would it be if everyone in the church at all times of the church was committed to being at peace with everyone else in the church?  What kind of a home would it be if everyone in the family was committed to being at peace with everyone else in the family?   Church and home would be places of peace and places of worship.  God would be honored amongst us, Satan would be defeated, and the world would take notice.  Whom do you need to reconcile with before you come to worship?

Men, join us Saturday morning at 7:30 at Denny’s as we gather for breakfast, Bible study and prayer. 

Pray for our teens.  We had a strong lesson last night looking at the dark places that sin takes us and where we get our identity.  Kids are faced with identity issues that we were not faced with.  Founding their identity in the God who made them is not at all popular in their environments. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

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