Command of Christ # 6

It is another beautiful day in Oregon!
This week's command is to, "Be Reconciled." Matthew 5:23-24 says, "Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar and go they way. First, be reconciled to thy brother and then come and offer thy gift." (emphasis added)

To 'be reconciled' means that we thoroughly restore a broken relationship. It is not saying you're sorry through clenched teeth while plotting revenge. This is so important to God that He would rather have us be right with others than to bring Him our gifts.

An elderly woman was rushed to the hospital with chest pains. They discovered that she had had a heart attack and it was decided that the next step would be to give her an angioplasty. She was wheeled in for the routine operation, but things took a turn for the worse. The doctor began inflating the balloon too quickly and her heart began to fail, soon her husband of 42-years was without a wife. Her husband was so devastated that he fell into a cycle of anger, revenge, and bitterness. His energy was spent on plans to take down the hospital and to get revenge with the doctor who had ended his wife's life. He went to court with plans to sue them for all they had, and the administrators and doctors awaited the trial with anxiety. However, the man realized that if he ever was going to be able to live in peace, he was going to have to forgive. On the day of the trial he went up to the doctor, took his hand, and forgave him. The doctor wept and could not even let go of the man's hand. Both men left the court that day free and most importantly reconciled.

In order to make reconciliation, we need to realize that arguments come from pride. "Only by pride cometh contention" (Prov. 13:10). We get angry because we feel like we should not be treated in such a way and are offended that anyone would attack the high view we have of ourselves. We need to remember Jesus who when He was reviled, suffered, and threatened, He did not retaliate (I Pet. 2:23). If the King of kings and Creator of all the universe had this attitude, we must also purpose to purge pride from our lives. We must give up the right to be right and give up the right to be treated fairly.

Important points to consider for reconciliation:

- Reconciliation must first begin with personal examination (Mat. 15:1-3). We are told to first examine ourselves, and then we will be able to see clearly the other persons side.

-We must take the initiative. Christ initiated reconciliation with us, His enemies, even when we were in our sins. If Christ can come down and die for His enemies, then we can initiate a right relationship with others.

-Reconciliation requires turning my pride into humility and a servant's spirit. "..even as Christ came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many." We must realize that the offenses against us are NOTHING compared to what Christ has endured and that we must serve those who have wronged us as He did.

-Reconciliation means clearing the record of the offense. We must refuse to 'repeat' a matter and refuse to replay the offense in our minds. God has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west and does not throw them back in our faces. We cannot be fully reconciled while carrying bitterness in our heart.

-Is there anyone who you have offended and need to be reconciled with?
-How have you turned your pride to humility in this situation?
-How can you serve those whom you have offended?

"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35).

(notes adapted from IBLP Commands of Christ curriculum and Pocket Guide; story from 'Choosing Forgiveness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss)

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