PASTOR HEIDEN RATNER
“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” – Matthew 5:23–24 ESV
It was mid-Sunday morning, and I found myself distracted during the worship set at church. At the time, I was a college student in Pennsylvania, and the night previous, I had gotten into an argument with my then-girlfriend, Neena. I stood there in the far left corner of the room, frustrated, as I muttered through the worship song. I knew what the Holy Spirit was prompting me to do, but I was too prideful to do it. Finally, I gave in. I stepped out of the church, stood outside, and made the call. After a few rings, Neena answered, and I apologized for my part in our argument and acknowledged where I had gone wrong. The beauty of the conversation was that Neena listened to what I had to say and forgave me for my shortcomings.
Can I tell you that one conversation changed the energy of how I worshipped the Lord that day at church? I returned with praise on my lips and the peace of the Lord in my heart! By the grace of God, Neena and I would later get married, plant a church, and today we have four handsome little boys. We together practice the instructions from Jesus in Matthew 5:23-24 to this day. If we miss it on one of our ends, we prioritize making it right with each other before bringing our worship to the Lord. If we miss it with someone else we are in a relationship with, as far as it depends on us, we strive to make it right with that person. We cannot control how the other person may respond, but we can control our actions.
Today, I encourage you to re-read the above verse from Matthew 5. Notice the intentional language of Christ: “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you…” (Matthew 5:23 ESV) Jesus was clear that it may not be you that has the issue, but if you remember someone has something against you, He calls you to push pause on bringing your gift of worship to Him and go to that person to make it right.
In your attempt to make a relationship right, you will find the Spirit at work and the Lord’s anointing and blessing around the corner. (Psalm 133) The Massachusetts Evangelist, D.L. Moody, once stated: “I have never known the Spirit of God to work where the Lord’s people were divided.” My prayer is that the Spirit of God will greatly be at work in your life as you prioritize unity and live a life that strives to make it right.
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” – Matthew 18:15 ESV
Father, thank You for making it right with me when I was in the wrong. You didn’t wait for me to take the first step; instead, you sent Jesus to save my life. I pray we will respond to Your grace and kindness and be “make it right” Christians. That we wouldn’t take the words of Jesus lightly, but we would instead put His words into action.
Lord, I know Your desire is for Your church to be one, unified, and on mission together. Help us to walk humbly and allow Your Spirit to lead us in times of uncomfortably and confrontation. May we remember You go before us and that You promise to be with us.
I pray Your Spirit anoints our attempts to make relationships right and that our initiation will result in You getting all of the glory! I pray all of this in Jesus’ name, amen!