“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill ; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say , Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way ; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.“–Matt. 5:21-24
Every week weary worn souls go off to church with high hopes that it will lighten their load, brighten their day, solve their problems, fulfill their duties, set a good example, etc. But they leave feeling no better–perhaps even worse than before. They rejoiced to see their friends, loved the music, and was stirred by the sermon, but deep down within they feel the same. Were they to be honest they would have to say, as many do, “I didn’t get anything out of it”. The question is, “Why?”
While there could be many contributing factors, in many cases the root of the problem has to do with unresolved conflict between them and someone else. That “someone” might be 1000 miles away or seated in the pew next to them, but regardless of who the person is or where they are, they are deprived of peace and joy. Regardless of how well the sermon is presented or the choir sings they feel that something is missing. And it will be that way until they do as the Lord commands in Matt. 5:21-24. Until we make every effort to be reconciled to the person with whom we are at odds our worship will be worthless– rejected by God and meaningless to us.
It might be a spat between spouses, conflict with children, bitterness between brethren, competition with co-workers, a clash between class-members, or a number of other things, but your problem with them becomes a problem between you and the Lord. And resolving it should be at the top of your “To do” list. While we can’t force the other person cooperate we can do our best in trying to settle the issue. We are not at liberty to ignore it. Whatever you have planned for the day, if there is a conflict between you and someone else, you should revise your plan, rearrange your schedule, and deal with it before moving on to other matters. According to Jesus it is just that important.