“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.”
—Matthew 5:23-24 NIV
Some things just seem to come in pairs.
A sailboat and sails, a bike wheel and tires, a hook and bait, peanut butter and jelly . . . each one of those things wouldn’t quite function without the other.
Well, unless you’re weird like me and eat peanut butter all by itself. But I think you get the point.
When Jesus said that we need to be reconciled to those we have wronged before offering our gift at the altar (i.e. before worshiping God), I think he was getting at this truth: when it comes to love for God and love for people, you can’t have one without the other.
1 John 4:20 (ESV) says, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
The health of our relationships with other people directly affects the health of our relationship with God (and vice versa), and if we want to offer God a gift which truly pleases him, we must learn to love our neighbor.
Here is a short prayer to carry with you today:
Breathe in: Father,
Breathe out: Help me grow in love.