Matthew 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
This passage of scripture teaches us that the process of reconciliation between two or more individuals, should begin with the person who is in the right, the one who was ill-treated or evil spoken of without a cause. When two persons have a disagreement, the person who is at fault is usually the one to avoid the presence of the innocent party, and therefore if a speedy resolution to the problem is desired, the scriptures say that the person whose rights were violated, should seek out the one who caused the offence.
This instruction goes directly against the human grain, for we usually desire that the one who is in the wrong should make the first move at making amends. This however is not the godly way, even though the person who is in the wrong is not released from their responsibility of making wrongs right too. To go to someone who has done us wrong in order to begin the process of reconciliation takes great humility, and can only be done in sincerity through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
God Himself set us the example when Adam and Eve sinned. Right after our first parents fell, God came looking for them, not only to make them aware of the gravity of their sin, but also to bring them the good news of salvation. Let's read:
Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. 9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
Jesus did the same for Zacchaeus who had robbed his fellowmen. Despised by society and ostracized because of his occupation as a tax collector, he felt unloved and deserted, and the pressure of his guilt only added to his remorse. However Jesus did not wait for Zacchaeus to confess, but instead took the initiative in the process of reconciliation. Let's read:
Luke 19:5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. 6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
These two examples contain very valuable lessons for us, and it is the will of God that we follow in His footsteps. One of the Characteristics of a mature Christian is that he is easy to talk to, quick to resolve differences, and ready to forgive and forget. Let's read:
James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
These are not inherent characteristics of fallen human nature, but by the grace of God, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. We therefore end with a promise to all who by faith follow in the footsteps of Christ, by taking the initiative in reconciliation. Let's read:
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
May the sunshine of God's grace radiate in and through us both now and forever more. "Good night" and God bless!