Can God forgive me for the things I’ve done? Am I worthy of His grace and forgiveness? Have I done enough to make up for my past mistakes? These are just a few of the questions I have asked recently. Especially when I am worn down from the chaos of everyday life.
First of all, the answer the last question is this: No, I haven’t “done” enough. Because I could never “do” enough to earn the gift of forgiveness from God. The good news is I don’t have to! Just by professing Jesus Christ as the Lord of my life, I am saved and forgiven! We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, but I am given the gift anyway! (Romans 3:22-25)
Second, let’s take a look at this week’s scripture. In Matthew 5:23-24, Matthew is recounting the words of Jesus,
“Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”
I believe what Jesus is saying here is this. If I am presenting an offering at the altar of God for any wrongdoings, I should pause and reflect on the past days, weeks, months. Have I left an apology hanging in the air with my husband? Am I holding anger towards a friend for something she said to me years ago? Did I hurt someone in a deep way, but have been too afraid to face the music?
I don’t know about you, but I have felt this before. I go before God in prayer and request forgiveness for my sin. I know because I have confessed to God my sin, I am forgiven and washed clean by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:9), but yet there is this tugging at my heart for more than that precious gift.
That “more” is to reconcile with whom I have harmed. Oh boy! That can be a tough one! But, Jesus is saying my brother or sister in Christ needs a sincere apology and reconciliation from me. I cannot move forward in my own journey to recovery until I have reconciled (where possible) with those I have harmed or those who have harmed me.
This is a cautious step I take. I want to ensure this step will not cause problems for the other person or me. There are times where it is not possible to reconcile with others. If this is the case, as is with my deceased dad, I will instead offer my reconciliation to the Lord in prayer. Sometimes reconciliation is to let go of bitterness, betrayal, or begrudging feelings toward others.
This is okay! God knows our heart and He knows the reconciliation is coming from a heart of repentance. Forgiveness is possible when we are open to accept it.
Take me to the next post in the series.
Think About It:
Reflect and record your responses to the following:
Have I left an apology hanging in the air with my spouse or significant other?
Am I holding anger towards a friend for something she said to me years ago?
Did I hurt someone in a deep way, but have been too afraid to face the music?
Am I ready to make my reconciliation with the people I have listed?
If you are not sure about reconciling with someone, seek counsel from your mentor or pastor.