‘So if you are about to offer your gift to God at the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, go at once and make peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift to God.’ (verses 23,24)
Read Matthew 5:21-26
Some Christians have a sharing of the peace in their worship services. Someone once told me how it helped him overcome a problem he had with another person who worshipped regularly with him in the same church. For years they had avoided each other. They even usually sat at opposite ends of the church. It had started with an argument several years before. Neither was prepared to say sorry, and so what had started off as a relatively minor disagreement had grown into a broken relationship. It was during the sharing of the peace that God moved them to be reconciled to each other. Someone had to make the first move to mend the relationship, and then there was peace.
Jesus says, ‘Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you’ (John 14:27). Your God offers you his peace. Right there at the altar, as you kneel before him, he makes his peace with you. This is where you come face to face with him who is truly the Prince of Peace, and it is through him and him alone that you have peace with the Father. There is no room here for arguments or an unwillingness to forgive your fellow believer when your God has forgiven you so much. ‘No, go quickly, make peace’, he says. ‘Forgive as I have forgiven you, so that my kingdom of peace can grow.’
Lord Jesus, help me to forgive as readily as you forgive. Make me a channel of your peace. Amen.
By Len Tscharke, in “Refreshment for each day” (LCA, Openbook Publishers (2003)
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