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.
'Tis the season for political debate. The media is rampant with discordant opinions as the presidential candidates from both parties flex their muscles and propose their ideas and visions for a better America to the prospective voters. For some, this is simply a sideshow at a circus, a mere distraction or nuisance at best. For others, like me, we truly stay engaged with the entire process, wanting to know the ins and outs of each and every candidate on both sides of the aisle in order to develop a better perspective.
It is at times like this that I am more grateful than ever to live in a country where free speech is still protected by the Constitution. Yes. I know. There are those who consistently try to circumvent our constitutional guarantees, and it makes me wonder if these folks have even read this very document that allows them to rant and rave in all their thunder and glory.
In too many countries, freedom of speech is not allowed, unless your goal is prison or death. What would these persons do if they suddenly found themselves living in one of these tyrannical pits? But that is a post for another time . . .
The point I set out to make is based on Matthew's Gospel quoted above. My family is, to say the least, politically diverse. We all plan to gather together, as many families do, at Thanksgiving. After a recent political exchange on Facebook, a heated one at that, I lay down the law: Freedom of speech is respected, but there will be no political discussions during the Thanksgiving festivities!
My son, Daniel, is in full agreement. "That's exactly how Grandpa would want it," he tells me.
Yes, my Dad . . . The peacemaker, the reconciler. Placing his gift before the altar only when his heart was in the right place. Reminding us always to be respectful of one another's views. Honoring us by always listening to our concerns privately, offering his gentle guidance, and keeping altercations to a minimum during family gatherings, that our memories would not be tarnished by words better left unspoken.
I miss my father, more than words could ever or will ever express. And I hope that I carry within me his resolute love for family and dedication to one another no matter how the whimsical winds of political storms may blow.
We are family. We are blood. We are Americans.
We are one in the Spirit.
We are one in the Lord.
Are you reconciled to your neighbor?
Prayer: Father, it's so easy for us to get on our high horse and tout our agenda without regard for the opinions and feelings of others. May we make all our earthly decisions on the basis of Biblical truths, and be reconciled to one another, for Your sake. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.