Be Reconciled to thy Brother Matt. 5:23-24 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Without going into the doctrinal teaching of Matt 5:23-24, we can see very clearly that the Lord values reconciliation between brothers even above giving. In the particular example of Matt 5, reconciliation with this brother is something you control because he has something [“ought”] against you. In other words, by going to him, you can address or rectify whatever is between you and thereby be reconciled to thy brother.
This passage doesn’t address the case where you have something against your brother. We can look at that problem tomorrow. Today, we will concern ourselves with how to be reconciled to thy brother when you are the one responsible for the problem.
The easiest way to see how to handle this is to compare it to what you would do in reconciling with the Lord.
You must objectively perceive what you have done. These are sins against God that separate us from him. Most people are clueless in strained relationships that they have “done anything wrong”. When there is trouble, you must stop and be honest with yourself about any and all things you have done or said that might have caused division with another person.
You must take responsibility for what you have done. Whenever there is trouble between two people the first reaction is to hold the other person responsible. Men often blame God when things go wrong. And men often blame each other when something goes wrong between them.
- You must not excuse yourself by transferring any of the blame. You’re responsible for the part you have caused regardless of the part the part the other person may have caused. And you can’t change them but you can and should change you.
- You must not compound or shield the trouble with extraneous concerns. “If it hadn’t been for _______ I wouldn’t have done this”. Here, you can fill in the blank with whatever else was going on that caused you to lose your cool or contributed to your transgression. Bad circumstances are never an excuse for bad behavior.
- You must simply address the root problem. Just deal with what is between you in the simplest and most basic fashion possible and forget all the other stuff. If you transgressed, deal with the facts of the transgression. If you owe money, pay it.
You must go to him; you should not wait for him to come to you. And the sooner the better. As soon as you realize what you have done and you have honestly admitted your fault clear the air between you and your brother. Don’t wait for him to forget. Time often makes these things worse not better.
You must honestly admit the problem you have caused. When you have your brother face to face, tell him “straight up” what you have done. Don’t beat around the bush, or dredge up the past. And don’t wallow in your emotions. Just get to the business at hand.
You must apologize for what you have done. Seek his forgiveness. It helps for you to understand your brother’s point of view because it helps you to agree in your mind with why he should hold this thing against you. He will appreciate your honesty and your sincere desire to reconcile.
You must recompense any damage you have caused. If your transgression cost your brother anything, then you need to pay it and make it good.
You must realize that being good to others doesn’t absolve your trespass against your brother. Often people give to others to make them feel good about themselves. It helps. However, it doesn’t reconcile the trespass against your brother. You have to deal with that directly. And the Lord said, deal with it before you give your gift.
Conclusion: You must learn from your mistakes, if you don’t want this to happen again.