Conflict Between Believers

“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 5:24 (NKJV)
 
Not all of us are called to teach a Bible study, sing in the choir, or work with youth, but all of us are called to “go and be reconciled” (Matthew 5:24 NIV) to our brothers and sisters, our friends and family, and the people in our church and community. God calls us all to be biblical peacemakers—to allow His redemptive, transforming love to spill over into our relationships.
 
Opportunities for conflict are everywhere—in our home, workplace, church, and community. I don’t know about you, but conflict is something I have tried to avoid. However, being human and living on earth has made it next to impossible to avoid. As Christians, we can so fear being hurt that we try and protect ourselves to avoid conflict in relationships.
 
When I was growing up, we had to pretend everything was perfect in our household. Anything negative would create an imbalance, and we could not have that. Although most of the time we functioned as a normal family with small conflicts, we never addressed major issues—we just hoped they would eventually go away.
 
In today’s verse, Jesus is delivering a difficult message to the multitude. He begins by teaching them about life and the issues they will encounter. Then He addresses personal relationships. In verse 21, He says hating someone in your heart is the same in God’s eyes as murder. This is a difficult statement to swallow. We sometimes think the easiest way to handle strife or differing of opinions is to ignore it . . . or by being so dogmatic to get our point across that we end up having bitterness and hate in our hearts. Many people will get caught up in serving God in order not to address relational issues. But God wants you to offer sacrifice that is pure and not tainted.
 
In Matthew 5:23-24 (NKJV), we read, “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.”
 
In this, we see Jesus reminding us that reconciliation is important to God. As much as it depends on us, God wants us to reconcile and be at peace with our brothers and sisters.
 
Dig: Read John 3:16 and 2 Corinthians 5:18-20. Reflect on the forgiveness God has given you. Then think about someone in your life you need to be reconciled to.
Discover: What would it cost you to reconcile with that person?
Display: Before going to church this week, take inventory of your relationships and see if there is anyone with whom you need to reconcile. This act of obedience could pave the way for an unbelieving family member or friend to then be reconciled to Christ.