"So when you offer your gift to God, think about other people. If you are offering your gift before the altar, and you remember that your brother has something against you, then leave your gift there at the altar. Go and make peace with that person. Then come and offer your gift."
— Matthew 5:23-24
When we come face to face in worship, we are forced to recognize that we stand before God as righteous and acceptable to him only because of his forgiveness, mercy, and grace. How dare we try to worship him and receive this forgiveness, mercy, and grace when we are not in a good place with others in our Kingdom family! There is an incredible consistency throughout Scripture about God's wanting us to be right with each other if we are going to be right with him. The Ten Commandments have four commands that focus on the Lord and six that focus on our relationships with each other. The prophets emphasized that God hates the worship of those who mistreat or exploit others. Jesus emphasized that we could not be forgiven if we are unforgiving. He even says that we will be judged by the same standard by which we judge others. No matter how moving, how inspiring, how "spiritual" our worship may seem, if we harbor evil against each other or have harmed another in our Kingdom family and not tried to reconcile, God will not accept our worship.
Merciful Father, forgive me for harboring grudges, saying unkind things, and being insensitive to the hurts I have caused to your children. I relinquish any grievance and give up any claim against my brothers and sisters in Christ and pledge to live with them in your Kingdom in a way that reflects your mercy and grace. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Today's Verses in Context
"You have heard that it was said to our people long ago, 'Don't kill any person. And any person that kills will be judged.' But I tell you, don't be angry with another person. Every person is your brother. If you are angry with other people, you will be judged. And if you say bad things to another person, you will be judged by the Jewish council. And if you call another person a fool, you will be in danger of the fire of hell. "So when you offer your gift to God, think about other people. If you are offering your gift before the altar, and you remember that your brother has something against you, then leave your gift there at the altar. Go and make peace with that person. Then come and offer your gift. "If your enemy is taking you to court, then become friends with him quickly. You should do that before you go to court. If you don't become his friend, then he might give you to the judge. And the judge might give you to a guard to put you in jail. And I tell you that you will not leave that jail until you have paid everything you owe.
Related Scripture Readings
Yes, if you forgive other people for the things they do wrong, then your Father in heaven will also forgive you for the things you do wrong. But if you don't forgive the wrong things people do to you, then your Father in heaven will not forgive the wrong things you do.
"If your brother or sister does something wrong to you, go and tell that person what he did wrong. Do this alone with that person. If that person listens to you, then you have helped that person to be your brother again. But if that person refuses to listen, then go to him again and bring one or two people with you. Then there will be two or three other people that will be able to tell all that happened.
Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you in Christ.