From: Su Min
My dearly beloved, Jesus says, "Greater love has no-one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything I have learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not chose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit- fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other (John 15:13-17)."
Jesus Prince of Peace comes to bring love and peace to us, even to those who have warfare within the family. And Jesus know that very often the most bitter of conflicts may be experienced between siblings, between brother and brother or brother and sister or between sister and sister.
Jesus has told us
"Do not murder".To put this all into action, Jesus now says "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. (Matt 5:23-24)"
"Do not have angry hands".
"Do not have angry thoughts."
"Do not have angry mind".
"Do not have angry words".
"Do not have angry tongue".
What does it mean "to be reconciled"? To make friendly after estrangement (OED).
The Greek word Dialasso (dee-al-las'-so), Strong's Concordance 1259, to change thoroughly mentally, to conciliate, reconcile. The phrase is expressed in the Amplified "First make peace with your brother".Most of us are quite good at forgetting the good that others do for us. We might say thank you at that very moment. We might remember the good done to us for a little while. But soon the good that others do for us is forgotten. But the bad that others do to us is a different story. The bad that others do to us is long remembered. It festers like an abscess deep within. It boils with cold rage or explodes with hot anger. Deep within our psyche is the frustration, hostility, pain, bitterness, and extreme agitation as we recall the wrong inflicted against us. Seldom do we forget the bad that others do to us.
What a powerful teaching. Anyone who continues to be angry with his brother will be subject to judgement (Matt 5:22). And if you remember that your brother has something against you, you are subject to judgement. God requires that your sacrifice is made with a pure heart. If your spirit is tainted by anger, the sacrifice is void.
Jesus calls to us. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened (heavy ladened) and I will give you rest (Matt 11:28). Lay your anxieties, your burdens, your anger, your pain at His feet. If your brother has something against you, surrender that offence against you at the foot of the cross. The power of the Risen Christ will heal you. Forgive as you have been forgiven. Love the sinner but not the sin. The offence may have been heinous. More often than not the family squabble is due to a petty dispute. More often than not it is our pride and self righteousness that have been damaged. Jesus calls upon us to eat humble pie. Jesus demands of us as his disciples to go and make that first move in reconciliation. It may be us that have been wronged, but we should not sit tight and wait for the other to come to us to make peace. No, Jesus says "Go and be reconciled to your brother".
Jesus knew about reconciliation. He knew the price that had to be paid to achieve reconciliation. Indeed He is our reconciliation. God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him. For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation (Roman 5:8-11).
Come, then, having been reconciled, to the throne of grace. Lay your gifts at the altar. What do you bring as an offering to God? Do we not often tip our spare change into the offering bag. Fish out a note or two from our pocket at the last moment, just to assuage our guilty conscience. Do we not offer our services to God and to the church, but fail to prepare ourselves spiritually for that act of worship, and cancel the church appointment in favour of a secular appointment?
"When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you? (Mal 1:8)"What a challenge. What a God! Indeed God asks for us to give ourselves completely to Him. "Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- which is our spiritual worship (Romans 12:1)".
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this" says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it (Mal 3:10)."
Let us pray.
Abba Father, Lord God Almighty.
Thank you for your lesson today.
Father you know that we have left so many of our differences un-reconciled.
The pain and bitterness is there burning within us.
Forgive us Father. We have been too proud to forgive our brother.
Let us offer to you our hurt, the grievance, the wrong inflicted upon us.
Let us offer to you our pride, our self righteousness.
We know that by our own strength we are nothing.
We know that clothed in our own righteousness we are naked.
Forgive us Father and heal us.
Give us the strength and courage to go to our brother and extend the hand of reconciliation.
Cover us with your love as we weep those tears of reconciliation, O God.
Then, Mighty God, accept our sacrifice of praise.
Then, Mighty One, accept our total selves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to you.
In the Name of Jesus our Reconciliation.
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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