Too often we are quick to pass judgment on those around us – calling the person who cut us off in traffic an idiot or the guy who messed up a project at work a moron. We make these statements with little-to-no thought only consumed with our momentary emotions. Whether say the words aloud or not, what we don’t realize is the depth of separation these careless emotions cause.
Matthew 5:21-26 speaks to us directly on this topic.
You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 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. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
In Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus instructs us not to judge. We should instead use that energy to assess our own heart condition – and if we find we have held something against someone, we are called to reconcile with them.
God takes reconciliation so seriously He says He doesn’t want you to even come see Him until you have gone and reconciled with the other person!
Since reconciliation is important, let’s be sure we understand what it means. According to Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged it means “to restore to friendship, compatibility, or harmony… to restore.” So it isn’t just being on neutral terms with someone, but having a positive relationship.
So I encourage you to start now. Check your heart and see if you’re harboring offense or judgment. Release those ungodly emotions and be willing to take action and go to the person to restore relationship if necessary. Watch and see the difference it makes in your heart and in your relationship with God.
Lord, forgive us for being so quick to judge and condemn others. All the while desiring mercy and leniency for ourselves. Help us to have hearts that mirror Yours. Ones filled with mercy and compassion, patience and forbearance. Show us if there is anyone we need to reach out to in reconciliation… and give us the grace to do it. We repent, Lord, for doing anything that damages our relationship with You. Thank You for loving us…