“So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.” vss. 23-24
Jesus clearly wants his disciples to know that living under the mantle of grace does not mean abandoning the old standards for lawful living. In fact, he raises the benchmarks and tells them that reconciliation is the key to God-pleasing behavior. It’s not enough to refrain from murdering each other…in the community of faith we will actively seek renewal and unity in every one of our relationships. Living in peace with those closest to us is more important than doing “churchy” things on Sunday mornings. This is particularly true in our families! When spouses take the time to settle differences in a timely way their marriages are blessed. It’s impossible to live with a loved one and not have occasions when we are angry for being discounted or ignored. Rather than letting such feelings fester and grow more intense, wise couples will stop whatever they are doing to explain grievances and patiently listen. The same is true of brothers and sisters, parents and children…all those with whom we share important connections. This isn’t a matter of rigidly following a set of commandments…it’s just the way Jesus wants people of faith to treat each other. What a blessing it is to live at peace with those we love!
Thought for the Day: How are things going in my closest relationships?