“This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.” (Matthew 5:23, 24 MSG)
So my songs, my raised hands, and my beautiful voice don’t really amount to a hill of beans if I haven’t made things right with a friend.
I’ve heard/read this Scripture many times before, but I guess I haven’t paid close enough attention to the fact that it says if someone has a grudge against YOU, you have to abandon your offering and go make things right. I always thought this was if I was mad at someone else…WRONG. If you know someone is ticked at YOU, then it is YOUR responsibility to make things right before you come back to worship.
“And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.” (Matthew 5:33-37 MSG)
So when I ask how you are, stop saying, “Too blessed to be stressed, brother.” Barf.
“Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.” (Matthew 5:38-42 MSG)
“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” (Matthew 5:48 MSG)
These words from Jesus have challenged me big time this week. I hope they speak to you as well.