Simple Forgiveness, Great Impact

Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift (Mt.5:23-24).

They are close, yet they are far away. There are walls that separate us that are difficult to tear down, and harder to ignore. For where we would simply walk away, we also want to run toward. For what we have with one so close, is balanced somewhere between fulfillment and risk. And we hang our heads in certain frustration for what a person is to us.
Our hopes would be that we have no conflict with the people in our lives. We desire the smooth and settled waters of a stable and mature relationship. But we also fear the times of turmoil, when things aren't quite so pleasant.
It is in those times that we often find our truest friends. They will not run away from us when we are not our best. We all fall down from time to time, but there is one who will not simply pass by on the other side of the road--there is one who will stay with you until you are able once again to stand. It is the friend that sticks closer than a brother.
And should we remain beside the one who falls and fails to stand, we learn what it means to endure hard times and pray for patience in the meantime. For though we remain with one who is not his or her self, we sometimes feel that we have little strength to remain there for them. It is a wearying experience, and one we should not endure alone. For just as we would be there for another, there are those who are ready to be there for us--to help us, as we help someone else.
But consider now the struggle. You have a friend who is near and dear to you, or perhaps it is an acquaintance. Conflict arises and so does the first impulse to run to your prospective corners. The tension grows thicker and so do the walls. It becomes difficult to even say hello as you pass each other on your way. And though there is a part of you that desires to run away, there is a strong compelling to draw near. Part of you wants to remain angry, while another part desires to reconcile your differences. Many times the anger wins out--at least for a time. We hold grudges and harbor ill feelings, all the while we desire to have things back to the way they once were.
The song says, "Precious and few are the moments we two can share." Our time here is short, and our quality, alone time with certain others is even shorter. And though we recognize and realize that our time together is something we should try to make the best possible, we continue being angry and remain withdrawn, and for what? More often than not, its to prove some kind of a point that we know one day we will look back on and think, "How petty."
Jesus came to reconcile. He came to reconcile us to God and to each other. He has given us what is called a ministry of reconciliation, and what we may not realize is that we cannot effectively minister, teach or lead others to be reconciled with God, if we refuse to be reconciled with each other. If we would stop to take a moment to look through our issues that stand as walls, we will discover that they are not worth allowing them to prevent us from effectively sharing the love of God with others. It's time to tear down the walls--if not for ourselves--certainly for a lost and dying world who needs to see what it means to be forgiven.

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven (Mt. 18:21-22).

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