Go and Be Reconciled

Read Mathew 5:21-26  

Every culture has strengths and weaknesses that reveal themselves over time.  While Bengali culture has many excellent points, one weakness became apparent when a trusted and respected Christian leader, Jamal, divorced his wife. Other believers, who previously only had positive things to say about him, suddenly started speaking about Jamal’s faults and misbehavior that they had noticed over the previous years. When I probed the reasons for their previous silence, I discovered that when Bengalis gain “dirt” on someone, they do not go to that person to help him or her overcome the problems. Rather they save this knowledge for a strategic moment when they can weaponize it for their own advantage. I was stunned at this example that reminded me how every culture has unholy values and behaviors that, if left unexamined, can bind and blind believers.

In today’s passage, Jesus talks about fulfilling the law by examining the heart behind behavior. The Mosaic law said do not murder; Jesus tells us that holding anger, insulting, and cursing are all on the same spectrum as murder, and all are worthy of judgment. Real righteousness requires us not merely to restrain our violent behavior, but also to resolve our lingering anger and grudges against believers.  

So, what steps can we take when we are offended by a believer and we find ourselves nursing a grudge in our hearts? Or when we understand that another is offended by something we have done? Jesus tells us to take rapid initiative to seek reconciliation and peace with the other. Do not delay. Seek them out. Apologize; that is, admit fault and express remorse. This takes priority over routine religious practices. Do your best to settle the matter in the relationship, before going to authorities.  Because if authorities become involved, the penalty is more serious.

My experience is that none of these steps come naturally. Our hearts are deeply self-centered, easily offended, and desperate to avoid pain and shame. The unnatural work of remaking our hearts requires the supernatural work of God’s Spirit. 


  • Today, what relationship do you need to mend?  What grudges are you still nursing? What self-concern keeps you from seeking the best for others? Take action today to seek reconciliation. 

by Jim Dressner