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. – Matthew 5.23-24
Let’s just suppose you have had a row with a Christian friend in the last couple of days. Let’s also suppose that the situation has not been settled. Things are still simmering and uncomfortable and just not right.
To keep supposing let’s just suppose it is time for church and everybody is getting ready to go to church where we hope to glorify God and encourage and build each other up.
There is a problem here. Jesus was talking about offering a sacrifice, but I don’t think it is a stretch to imagine that going to church is about the same situation.
We read about the spirit of the law and the letter of the law. The letter of the law is very specific here, but the spirit of the law speaks to us. The principle is that we can’t be right with God unless we are right with our brethren.
Preacher Watson was one of the early mentors in my Christian life. He often used a phrase ‘keep short accounts with God.’ That still sticks in my mind some forty years on. How true it is that when we sin we need to deal with it, confess it, and repent before time passes. I think we need to add to that ‘keep short accounts with each other.’
‘Love God and love others’ go hand in hand.’ We can’t have one without the other. Before we can worship God we must make things right with each other.