By Mike Stickler
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,
24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.
26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
The only things in this life that can be eternal are relationships. Eternal relationships begin first with God, and then with one another.
In this devotional’s passage, Jesus shares with us a glimpse of heavenly interaction. He reminds us that our gifts, offerings, and service to Him have little meaning when we refuse to resolve issues‒build and preserve relationships‒between one another.
In our sanitized lives, within our modern society, it is quite easy to hurt or offend another person—and then, rapidly ‘move forward,’ not taking into account what we may have done.
Sometimes, we even take additional, silly steps like limiting their access to our social media accounts or going so far as changing church service times to avoid interaction. Why? It’s because, somewhere deep inside of us, we don’t realize that Jesus’ reconciliation of us unto Himself through His death, burial, and resurrection is sufficient for whatever we could possibly have done. So we develop a dismissive attitude that says, “they need to just get over it.” -- DANGER! This attitude takes us out of fellowship with God.
According to Jesus, He is no longer interested in what we offer Him until we resolve our offense for our brother. In fact, He goes on to warn us that we will be “handed over to the officers, and you may be thrown into prison.” In the illustration of the lawsuit, this is quite literal. But, I believe this metaphorically also refers to the bondage of fruitlessness that can come in many forms.
So, what do we do?
Jesus also tells us the answer: He says “go quickly” to our offended brother and ask what it would take to reconcile our transgression, resolve the issue with him, and, in turn, be at peace—all before we get to court where others will decide the outcome.
Today’s Generosity Challenge:
Each time I share this principle, someone writes me to say that ‘a person immediately came to mind.’ Does someone come to mind for you right now? If so, pick up the phone‒right now‒and call them. Arrange an opportunity for a cup of coffee, perhaps a lunch, and when you meet, use these opening words: “I’m afraid I’ve offended your or hurt you in some way. Can you tell me what it is so I can make it right?”
Then, tell us about this meeting here below. We want to hear from you!
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.