Monday, September 19, 2011
Walk the Walk
"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
Forgiving others is one thing, but asking forgiveness from others, risking the chance it might not be granted, is quite another. Jesus makes it even tougher here when He tells us to be "reconciled to them". A dictionary definition of "reconcile" is to "win one over with friendliness, to settle, or to bring into agreement or harmony". It's not just an "I'm sorry for (fill in the blank). Will you forgive me?", although that's the right place to start. It's going the extra mile with them, doing all in our power to mend the breach in the relationship, listening, without interrupting, to their side of the story so we can truly know how our words or actions affected them, and, once comprehending, vow not to let that transgression happen again.
Jesus tells us is isn't enough to talk the talk; we need to walk the walk. The commandments to love God and our neighbors as ourselves cannot be severed from one another. When we are a odds with a spouse, a friend, a relative, a co-worker, it's not possible, no matter what we may imagine, to fully worship God at home or in church or participate in Holy Communion without feeling those pangs of guilt about what we have done or left undone with regard to the person we harmed in some way. We have sinned, we must acknowledge this sin, and know it separates us from the love of God. I don't think being separated from God's love is a place any of us want to be!
Is there someone in your life today who needs an apology from you? Someone, with whom and for whom, reconciliation is only a step away? Be of good courage! Have faith! If you let Him, Jesus will show you how to make amends while your offering stays at the altar. He will show you how to walk the walk.
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