Sunday, February 16, 2014

Instant reconciliation

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Matthew 5:21-37

TO CHEW ON: "Agree with your adversary quickly while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the office, and you be thrown into prison." Matthew 5:25

Jesus talks often about relationships and how to have good ones—with God and with people. He names one principle of good relationships in our reading today: quick reconciliation.

In the verses just before our focus verse, he gives us an example of how quick—the instant you remember your rift—even if you're doing something as important as bringing an offering to God. In fact, the reconciliation appears to be tied in with how seriously God will take your sacrifice (Matthew 5:23-24).

Paul, in 1Corinthians, alludes to similar soul-searching before we take communion. Failing to do so is serious and could result in bringing down judgment on oneself (1 Corinthians 11:18-20,28-30).

Similarly James links reconciled relationships with physical health: "Confess your trespasses to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed" (James 5:15-16).

In Matthew Jesus talks about another reason to reconcile speedily. If we don't our adversary may haul us before the courts where the outcome may be far worse for us than if we had pursued a peaceful resolution on our own.

Today is Sunday, the day many of us meet with fellow Christians in church. Do we do so nursing grievances and holding onto grudges? If so, let's determine that today will be the day we address them. Only good can come out of such an initiative, not only in our relationship with the other person, but with God.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to examine my interactions and connections with others in the light of reconciliation. Help me to do all in my power to forgive and forget. Amen.

MORE: Rwandan reconciliation

In the realm of injustices, the fallout from genocides such as happened in Rwanda in 1994 are some of the hardest to deal with. The video Rwandan Reconciliation (about 9 minutes long) tells the story of a Rwandan Archbishop who is teaching and modelling forgiveness, not only for the good of individuals, but for the welfare of the whole country.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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