Many of us have decisions to make each and every day. Some decisions come easily; so easily that we may make them on auto pilot. Other decisions may take some thought and extra effort. And then there are the BIG decisions!
One of those BIG decisions may involve difficulties that we may have with another person or persons. We are all unique with different personalities, different levels of understanding and may be from different cultures. There may be other factors involved, including age, marital status, personal likes and dislikes, and how seriously we take God’s instructions as outlined in His Word.
Some little while ago, I had a brief “difficulty” with another Church member, and I knew what the instruction in Matthew 5:23-24 clearly stated: “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
What was I to do? Ignore this because pride got in the way and because I thought that I was right, or “bite the bullet” and make the peace? Usually there is right and wrong on both sides of almost every disagreement and in the final analysis, does it really matter who was right or wrong?
I did make the right decision to reconcile and because the other person must have felt the same, we resolved what was a relatively minor problem pretty quickly because both parties knew that this was God’s Way. Decision time had arrived, and I believe that both parties passed the test.
When Jesus Christ was hanging on the stake, He made this astonishing statement, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). Here was a completely innocent Man, asking His heavenly Father to forgive those who had committed this vile and most painful of acts against Him. And yet, sometimes, we can hold grudges against others for months and years!
It is surely one of the great paradoxes of our time that the odd innocent word – or even look – can cause so many problems, but much more serious issues are accepted as the norm. It is a great irony, a self-contradiction that can permeate our so-called civilised society.
There is such a sensitivity with words today that people can easily take offence – sometimes – or even often – where no offence was meant.
Over the years, I’m sorry to say, there have been situations where Church brethren have been offended, albeit over minor matters in many cases – but God’s people really should be above those sorts of things. But, unfortunately, these things do happen. It is a sign of character to see how we react in times of pressure and trial.
In a little bit over a week, baptized members of the Church of God will be taking the Passover. Have they left “their gift at the altar” and attempted to reconcile with anyone who may have something against them? If not, they will be ignoring the clear biblical teaching on the matter and the consequences could be grave. If this does apply to us, it is incumbent on us to do something about it – and quickly. When I reconciled with the person whom I spoke about earlier, I felt better for having done so and for having followed God’s instruction on the matter. I am sure that the other person will have felt the same.
If anyone still has any outstanding situations that fit into this category, it is now “decision time”. What decision will be made?