You Offended Someone
August 9, 2010
Matthew 5:23-24 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift."
If you have ever had an interaction with another human being in your lifetime, chances are you have offended someone. Whether you intended to or not, you've made someone angry. You've spoken carelessly, you've made thoughtless actions, or maybe even purposefully sinned against another. It happens to everyone. No matter how genuine and purposeful you are in life toward others, someone was still offended by you at one time. This offense, whether intended or not, is now your responsibility. The offended person might be completely wrong in their interpretation of your words or actions; nonetheless, you now have an obligation toward him or her. You are obligated by Christ to make it right, as right as you can, even at the expense of your pride.
In Matthew chapter five, Christ was teaching a large crowd of people, giving them words to live by. As part of His instructions, He told them (and us today) if they offended another person, they needed to ensure things were made right between themselves and the offended party. Read His words slowly, "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift." We've all probably heard this scripture before, but there is more to understanding it fully, not simply apologizing for your wrongs. Jesus was saying that reconciliation with an offended person was just as important as bringing a gift or offering to the Lord. You should be reconciled to him or her, which means being in harmony with the other person, before He would even accept a gift from you.
The Scripture says the thought of reconciliation occurs while you might be making a gift to God. This original offering or gift is an act of praise and worship to God, but God does not want your praise if you are not at peace with others, especially if you are aware that your brother, sister, friend, neighbor has been offended by you. Jesus didn't say go to your brother to ask forgiveness for your sins. You might not have actually sinned or done anything wrong. It says, "your brother has something against you." The offense your brother has against you might not even be valid. You may have done nothing wrong; maybe the only thing you did was wake up this morning, but it frustrated someone. It is your job, if you are aware, to go to that person and figure out how you can be at harmony with him. While you might feel this is being an emotional slave to another human being, it is still your responsibility to see if there is anything you can do to make it right. Maybe your actions were pure, but someone took them the wrong way. This is still an offense the other person has against you. It requires reconciliation.
When you go to be reconciled to the offended person, you must take responsibility for the fact that your actions, whether intended or not, had an adverse affect on someone else. Make every effort to be at peace with the other. To be reconciled, you might have to give a little, something that you don't necessarily feel you need to give. There is a point to this. Jesus said to be reconciled before giving your gift to God. You must be willing to give to another human being before you can give to God; this, in itself, is an act of worship to the Father, especially if it means laying down your pride. In doing this, He will now accept your personal gift or praise unto Himself as true worship.
It takes humility to go to another and admit that your actions hurt them or their feelings. It takes a big person to make every effort to make things right, even if you did nothing wrong. This is the bigger gift to God, far bigger than the one you were bringing to Him in the first place.
1. Who is holding a grudge against you?
2. Who have you offended someone, though you didn't actually do anything wrong?
3. How can you be at peace with others before you worship God?
Don't take my word for it; study it for yourself: Matt 5:9, Rom 14:19, Eph 4:3, Heb 12:14, James 3:18
Sunday, August 8, 2010
You Offended Someone