Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. Matthew 5:23, 24
Walking with Jesus is not for sissies. Nor is it for narcissists. Jesus calls us to crucifixion and requires that we take his demands seriously. In this Matthew passage he asks us to immediately stop our worship of him if there’s an issue with someone else. We have to be the ones taking the initiative to make peace in a circumstance in which we possibly had no control. It really seems unfair.
I once heard a preacher say that God tasks the person who has the most faith with the responsibility of being the peacemaker. Simply put, God is the one who looks into our hearts and instantly recognizes whether or not Jesus is Lord there. He recalls how malleable we have been in his hands and how amenable we are to trusting his ways. And then he calls us to dealing with unfairness, with misinterpretation, and even with wrongs that we may have unknowingly provoked.
God looks in our hearts and knows if we are willing to obey without counting the cost in humiliation or misunderstanding. He knows that taking up the cross and dying to the flesh can only be done by one who walks with him and who knows how to access his measureless grace. And God requires that sort of sacrifice from the one who wants to grow in him.
My mom once told me of a quarrel that she’d had with my dad. Apparently, they were in the car going somewhere – she couldn’t recall where they were going or what the disagreement involved, but she remembered the tension. She said she was prompted to reach over and give my dad a mint, but she resisted. Again, the prompting came, and again she resisted. Finally, she took a gulp of grace and reached across the seat to offer the mint. The tension was broken; the atmosphere was changed. But she had to make the first move.
Father, help us to trust you to give us what we need in our daily relationships with those around us. Give us grace to be peacemakers even when we think we are without fault. Remind us that you are constantly reaching out to us to draw us to yourself, even when we least deserve it. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.