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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“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.”—Matthew 5:23-24 (NKJV)
“I was wrong.”
Are there any words more difficult to say to someone as those? What is it about our human nature that makes us cringe at the thought of admitting we made a mistake or caused an offense?
Pride has deep roots in all of us we need to address, and in no place does this come into greater focus than in marriage and the home. Our spouses are the ones who know us more intimately than anyone else, and when personalities, habits, and opinions come into close contact day after day, you can be certain conflict will arise.
When it does, what’s the proper response for us as Christians? As today’s verse illustrates, immediate reconciliation is the answer. In fact, making things right with our loved ones is so important, God tells us to leave our offerings at the altar to go make things right.
In the context of marriage, I’d like to address husbands first because God’s Word tells us that they are the spiritual leaders of the home (Ephesians 5:23; 1 Corinthians 11:3). As men, it is our responsibility to be the first to seek forgiveness and reconciliation in marriage, even when we feel we are the ones who have been wronged. Why?
I believe there are four reasons for this tall order:
For both men and women, I believe some of the most effective verses to put into practice when it comes to relational conflict come from 1 Corinthians 13: 5-8 (NIV), where Paul beautifully describes the nature of love: “It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
In our fallen nature, conflict resolution isn’t easy; but thankfully, by the power of God’s Spirit, we can navigate the difficulties in relationships with humility, admitting our wrongs and seeking reconciliation as He desires.
DIG: When was the last time you admitted wrongdoing or owned up to an offense you caused your spouse, a family member, or friend? Do you tend to avoid conflict rather than address it? Why?
DISCOVER: Read Matthew 18:21-22. What do you think this passage reveals about how Jesus feels about conflict?
DISPLAY: Meditate on passages of Scripture that deal with conflict such as those listed above, and ask God to humble you in the area of relationships as you put these truths into practice.
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Rob Nieminen is a seasoned writer and editor who has written devotionals for Calvary since 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. He serves in the Worship Ministry at Calvary Boynton Beach and is an avid reader, an erratic golfer, and an aspiring photographer who loves to cook and spend time with his family.