Kolar: Reconciled with one another
"There are times when the ability to reconcile with someone seems downright impossible. Sometimes those we have hurt don’t really want to reconcile with us...." writes Janel Kolar.
Matthew 5:23-24: “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.”
It can be very hard for people to accept the fact that they have done something to hurt someone else. It may be we don’t even know when we’ve hurt someone else. I remember someone telling me, after years and years of a sort of uncomfortable feeling between us, that I had hurt her. What was really sad was that after we talked about what she thought I had done, we discovered it was a complete misunderstanding. It made me wish I had tried a little harder a little earlier to discover why this former friend had gone a little cold in my presence. We could have cleared the air much sooner and possibly salvaged our friendship. As it was, after such a long time, we had grown so far apart we didn’t really have much in common any longer.
That may be why Jesus suggested that we reconcile with one another before we even think about offering something to him. Time really is of the essence when it comes to repairing and building up relationships. Putting off uncomfortable conversations doesn’t eliminate them, it just prolongs the sorrow. And if we wait too long to say “I’m sorry” or “What can we do to get back on track?” we might just ruin any chance we have to be reconciled.
Of course, there are times when reconciliation doesn’t go as planned. In fact, there are times when the ability to reconcile with someone seems downright impossible. Sometimes those we have hurt don’t really want to reconcile with us. Sometimes the hurt is so deep it can’t be let go of simply or quickly – it might take a long, long time and a lot of work. That’s no reason to give up. We still have to try.
This particular message from Jesus is to those who have done the hurting: you can’t do very much for me unless you try to reconcile first with those you have hurt. We cannot be reconciled with Christ unless we are first reconciled with one another. So who is it we have hurt? Who is it that has been very cold to you and do you know why? Jesus wants us to care, and to mend what is broken whether it is a personal relationship or a societal relationship. That is the first sacrifice we should make in offering to him.