Reconciliation is more important to God than religious devotion.
This is why Jesus famously says in the Sermon on the Mount, “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).
FIRST… be reconciled to your brother.
Seeking reconciliation comes before religious obligation.
When it comes to the Lord, restoring relational breaches are of greater significance than you being theologically or doctrinally correct.
It comes before your worship.
It comes before your offering.
Reconciliation is of greater consequence than the wrong someone inflicted upon you or the wrong you inflicted on someone else.
What ultimately divides people is of less value than seeking to live at peace with all people.
Romans 12:18 says it like this: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”
Some may say that living at peace with all people is wishful thinking.
Some may argue that living at peace with everyone is impossible.
It’s out of the question to conclude that people can live in harmony with one another.
But it’s not so much about the outcome as it is about being obedient and doing the right thing.
Seeking to live at peace with everyone has nothing to do with getting along with everyone.
It has everything to do with you owning your side of the relational rift and seeking to restore it.
This is why the above verse says, “…so far as it depends on you…”
It’s about making peace with the situation through honesty and integrity and offering forgiveness to someone who wronged your or seeking it yourself if you were the offender.
I recently had to do this myself.
Just the other day, God had made it abundantly clear that I needed to seek to repair what I had allowed to disintegrate relationally with someone.
The conviction of God surrounding this breach in relationship was so strong that I couldn’t engage in worship.
It felt as if I couldn’t enter the presence of God.
It was as if the relational wall between this particular person and myself placed a wall between me and God.
I knew what I had to do, but in all honesty, I was afraid to do it.
It was in that moment that I was confronted with this thought: Are you going to fear this person’s reaction or are you going to fear the Lord?
In other words, I was faced with whether or not I was going to fear what this person might do or say to me or fear disobedience.
In the end, the fear of the Lord won.
I sought to bridge the gap by apologizing for what I felt was my role in the deterioration of the
Unfortunately, it wasn’t received well.
But I did what depended upon me to live at peace with this individual.
Because of this, my conscience is at peace.
My heart is a rest.
Because I obeyed.
I knew the right thing to do and I did it.
I didn’t wait for this person to take the first step.
The fear of disobeying and being displeasing to God was of greater consequence to me than this particular person’s rejection.
While reading this, did you become aware of a relationship in your own life that needs restored?
Perhaps the gap is the result of something you did or perhaps it’s the outcome of someone else’s actions.
Either way, you don’t have to wait for someone to ‘make their move.’
We aren’t playing chess.
We’re a Jesus people.
We obey Him because it’s an expression of our love for Him.
Reconciliation and seeking to live at peace is of the utmost importance as far as God is concerned.
It reflects Him and what He has sought to restore with humanity through the cross.
To withhold from others what I reap the benefit of relationally with God is wrong.
If you’re feeling convicted to repair a relationship as a result of reading this, do yourself a favor.
Your own heart and conscience will be glad you did.
Own what you need to own.
Forgive what you need to forgive.
Seek forgiveness where you need to seek forgiveness.
Obedience is greater than sacrifice.
- Brian Connolly, Faith Like Birds Ministries