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Scripture

[ecko_quote source="Matthew 5:24"] Leave your gift there in front of the altar, first go and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift [/ecko_quote]

Devotion

It is useless to give offerings to God even in the form of singing, praising & worshiping if you are still at enmity with your brother/sister. Jesus said that His followers should be reconciled with anyone who is against them. The world seeks reconciliation on limited terms. Christians are to be reconciled, whatever it takes.

You might say, “But you don’t know how deeply he/she hurt me! It is unreasonable to ask me to restore our relationship.” Or, “I tried, but they do not seem to be pacified” Jesus did not include any exception as a clause for our reconciliation. If the person is an enemy, Jesus asked us to love him, if he persecutes you, you are to pray for him. If he/she publicly humiliates you, you are not to retaliate (Matt 5:39), if someone takes advantage of you, you are to give even more than he asks (Matt 5:41-44)

The world preaches us to “proclaim yourself” but Jesus taught us to, “Deny yourself”. The world warns that you will constantly be exploited. Jesus’ concern for His disciples was not that they should be treated fairly but was that they show unconditional love to others regardless of how they would be treated. Men spat on Jesus and nailed Him to a cross. His response was our model: “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing’ (Luke 23:34).

If there is ever a command that is constantly disobeyed, it is this mandate to be reconciled. We comfort ourselves with the thought, “God knows that I tried to make things right, but my enemy refused.” God’s word does not say “try to be reconciled” but “Be reconciled.”

Sin breaks our relationship with God; it also severs our relationships with others. Broken relationships are the epidemic of our day. Sin alienates family members, separates friends, divides churches, and destroy marriages. Sin creates mistrust, jealousy, hatred, and greed, all of which devastate relationships.  Christ is the oOnly remedy for this disastrous effect of sin on human relationships. As Christ's ambassadors, we are to take the message of reconciliation. How tragic is it when God’s messengers of peace harbour enmity toward each other. It is a travesty to carry a message of love and yet be filled with hatred. If there is someone whom you refuse to forgive, your message of reconciliation is hypocrisy. The evidence that you are a disciple of Jesus is that you love your fellow Christian (John 13:35).

Often we are less patient with our fellow Christians than we are with nonbelievers. We expect more from Christians, and we feel betrayed when they fail us. When this happens, we need to look closely at the cross and remember the forgiveness we received there. We must set aside the self-centered nature that leads to impatience and criticism of others.

What's next?

I am aware of how difficult it would be to put reconciliation into practice, but as a Christian, we don’t have any other way/option. Surely it would be good for our health and spiritual growth if we do so. The matter is up to us to follow the Word of God or deny it.

Is there someone with whom you need to make peace? Then do what God is asking you to do.

[http://pad3.whstatic.com/images/thumb/8/8f/Make-a-Positive-Impact-on-the-Lives-of-Others-Step-12.jpg/aid399720-728px-Make-a-Positive-Impact-on-the-Lives-of-Others-Step-12.jpg.webp][Edited]

Scripture

[ecko_quote source=" Psalm 41:9 "]“Even my close friends, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” [/ecko_quote]

Devotion

The spiritual journey is not the one that we are meant to walk alone. God intends us to travel in the company of other believers. It appears that for some this is a wonderful arrangement while for others, it may not seem so pleasant. People can be helpful, or hurtful; they can bless us, or harm us.

Over the years I have met a countless number of Christian people who have been hurt by other Christians. People have admitted to me that they have received more hurt from the fellowships/Churches/Cell groups than they have ever been by the world. Of course, there is some truth in it. I admit that I also have gone through some similar experiences in my Christian journey, in fact, it happened to me right after I accepted our Lord Jesus. As we see from the above Scripture, King David knew this pain, and even Jesus quoted this verse when He said, “He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me – John 13:18.

What's the solution then? The question we need to start thinking about is that how do we deal with relationships? It is because the way we deal with difficult relationships will determine whether we advance or withdraw in the Christian journey. God does not call us to live in distrust, but to live by faith in Jesus Christ. We are disciples of the One who knows what it is to be betrayed. Moreover, through His Grace/Power, we can be victors and not victims. Therefore, do not dwell on those hurts but instead move on by looking unto the Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrew 12:2). Satan always keeps our focus on the problems and people but not on the Lord Jesus.  I consider this is the great trap and many people in it.

God commands us not to judge others, but He does want us to be discerning. Jesus said we would know people’s spiritual condition by the fruit of their lives (Matthew 7:16). He said,” Thorn bushes do not produce grapes”. If a person’s life produces thorns, we can assume that the person is not a grapevine! Are we judgmental? No, we are discerning. Scripture commands us to avoid associating with mockers or fools (Proverb 22:10; 17:12). Unless we can identify mockers and fools, we cannot obey God’s command. As Christians, we have been instructed to observe the lives of others so that we can help them while avoiding any sinful influence.

God is not interested in how right you are. He is interested in how obedient you are. God’s command is not that you win arguments, but that you are kind and forgiving when others mistreat you. You bring God no honour by winning a dispute, but you reflect a Christ-like character when you demonstrate patience to those who mistreat you or misunderstand your motives.  Arguing may never win people to your view, but loving them just how Christ does will win you many friends over time!

Many offences could be immediately resolved by confronting the offending party and hearing their explanation. You would be surprised how many people are so immature that they do not even bother to investigate the facts or hear the other side of the story. Don't ever forget, "There are always two sides to a story," and never assume you know the entire truth of a matter until you have heard both sides.

I can guarantee that there would be far fewer misunderstandings in the body of Christ if people would be firmly devoted to love for their brethren. Love for the brethren gives us a desire to believe the best in our brother, giving him the "benefit of the doubt," instead of jumping to conclusions and always expecting the worst. The Bible says "If you love someone... you will always believe in him, always expect the best of him" (1 Cor. 13:7 TLB).

What's next?

Note that the scripture says "if your brother has something against you." In other words, you might not feel that you have legitimately violated your brother or sister. However, if you are aware that "they" harbour an offence against you, you still are obligated to go and try to resolve the issue. Be willing to be humble and submissive to others, even when you do not consider yourself to be at fault. Don't be so rigid and self-righteous that you stand in the way of a brother or sister's reconciliation with you or with God (Rom. 15:1-3). Offer your humble, sincere apology for any unintentional offence and make every effort to reconcile, so that your relationship with God will not be hindered. Whether or not they pardon you, you have done your part and released your soul from blame

 Source: Pastor Jonah Ravinder from blessings or blisters; Henry T Blackberry and  Dr Dale A. Robbins

[http://heidilynne91.blogspot.co.nz/2014/08/when-friends-become-enemies.html]

Bible Meditation

[ecko_quote source="Matthew 5:24"]Leave your gift there in front of the altar, first go and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift[/ecko_quote]

Devotional Thought

It is useless to give offerings to God (including our singing and praise & worship) to God while you are at enmity with your brother/sister. Jesus said that His followers should be reconciled with anyone who has something against them. The world seeks reconciliation on limited terms. Christians are to be reconciled whatever it takes.

You say, “But you don’t know how deeply he/she hurt me! It’s unreasonable to ask me to restore our relationship.” Or, “I tried but they do not pacify.” Jesus did not include an exception clause for our reconciliation. If the person is an enemy, Jesus said to love him (Matt 5:44). If he persecutes you, you are to pray for him. If he/she publicly humiliates you, you are not to retaliate (Matt 5:39), If someone takes advantage of you, you are to give even more than he asks (Matt 5:41)

The world preaches “proclaim yourself”. Jesus taught, “Deny yourself”. The world warns that you will be constantly exploited. Jesus’ concern was not that His disciples be treated fairly but that they show unconditional love to others regardless of how they are treated. Men spat upon Jesus and nailed Him to a cross. His response was our model: “Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing’ (Luke 23:34).

If there were ever a command that is constantly disobeyed, it is this mandate to be reconciled. We comfort ourselves with the thought, “God knows that I tried to make things right, but my enemy refused.” God’s word does not say “try to be reconciled” but “Be reconciled”

I am very much aware the above is very much difficult to practice but as a Christian people we don’t have any other way/option. Surely it would be good for our health and spiritual growth if we do so. The matter is up to us to follow the God's word or deny it.

Action Point

Is there someone with whom you need to make peace? Then do what God tell you to do.

Image Source: 
[https://blog.cloudflare.com/content/images/2014/Sep/handshake1.jpg]

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