Read Matthew 5:21-26
“...leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.” v. 24
Lent often feels like a time when we clean the slate between us and God. That feels awesome...almost like a reboot of sorts. We recognize we've gotten lost along the way and Lent helps us to make the necessary corrections. We get back on course and we realign our actions and attitudes to God. Though it's not easy, it feels great to start fresh with God once again!
But wait...what if that's not it?
What if this time of soul-searching, this time of coming to terms with who we are and where we've come up short not only affects our relationship with God? What if it impacts our relationships with one another? Here's where it gets real!
When we get off track, we not only injure our relationship with God. We injure others. We make decisions, say things, act in ways that wounds people we come into contact with each and every day. Some of whom are those closest to us. They are our spouse, our children, our parents, our co-workers, our brothers and sisters in Christ. How many times have you said something to your husband/wife that you wish you could take back? How many times have you neglected to tell you children how much you love them? How much animosity have you harbored in your heart against the person you set next to on Sundays?
Yet, we are pretty stubborn!
We justify. We make excuses. We blame. We try to forget. We bury it deep somewhere that it won't bother us. Consequently...what we fail to do is name it and come to terms with it. According to Jesus, that doesn't fly. According to Jesus, repentance isn't over when we've said sorry to God. Repentance pushes us further. It pushes us toward others. One might even say that repentance isn't complete until we've gone to that someone we've hurt in hopes of making amends. Humility is found not only as we stand before God. Humility is found as we stand in earnest remorse before the person we've injured.
We can’t be repentant if we give ourselves permission to be down right ugly to others. Our love for God should infect how we treat others. In fact Jesus goes on to say that if conviction strikes and you realize that your brother or sister has something against you, before you try to go get super-spiritual you had better make amends first. Christianity is not just about me and my Jesus, its about how we live together before a Holy God.
Name a few people that might have something against you, what it is, and how you might make amends.