Matthew 5: 23: Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24: Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
To Jesus the issue of treating our brothers with respect was powerful. It wasn’t just a matter of not killing each other and not calling each other names. His outlook was one of resolving differences. Jesus is tough on those issues that divide unnecessarily. Surely, 99% of what divides us today can be resolved with humility and the right approach.
In the verses before and behind this the issue is laid out. Don’t attack or be angry with your brother unless it is super serious. Settle a matter quickly, even if the person has set themselves as an enemy against you. Deal with it.
Workday Conflict: The conflict at work was intense. These two just could not get along. Every meeting was full of asides and stares. What could break the personality impasse? Work was not getting done because decisions could never be trusted.
One of the parties stayed after a meeting. Their demeanor was serious. Slowly, they admitted the problem was real and asked me, their manager, how to address it. Fortunately, they were Christian. The concept of grace was easily appealed to with them. We agreed they would begin to list out frustrations with the individual after every meeting and cross off all the ones that had no substance. Then they would follow up outside the meeting with the person to come to a compromise on ones that did have substance.
Everything did not get better immediately. But it sure made the rest of the week more productive. Maybe the other person would eventually respond to the extension of grace.
Community Clashes: A friend was frustrated as we ate lunch. As he worked with pastors, he noted many of them hated each other. They would make vile comments about other pastors and churches working in the same community and culture. How could this be?
We prayed for pastors and leaders. We agreed we would continue to offer love and acceptance to each one of them. Maybe our extension of acceptance to them could help break the bottleneck of competitive spirit we were finding.
ACT! Call someone who is testy with you. Offer them peace and acceptance.
PRAY! Wow, Father, You are really serious about Your family getting along. Surely, You created us to live together with peace as much as possible. Help me today to be a peaceful person and a peacemaker. Help me to move first toward peace with others. I love You, Father. I am glad You are always on my side for me to grow.