Daily Thought for: 19th April
AGREE WITH THINE ADVERSARY
Matthew 5. 25-26
Our Lord’s teaching shows that interpersonal problems must never be ignored, for they rapidly expand into bigger troubles. If we refuse to rectify wrongs with our brother, then he may avail himself of the temporal authorities. What began as a private offence may quickly grow into open litigation in the courts of this world. Christ’s command offers an eminently practical solution which is consistent with the teaching of the Scriptures, which declare that ‘love covers a multitude of sins’, 1 Pet. 4. 8 JND. He enjoins the believer to agree with his adversary, or risk suffering the earthly consequences of a stubborn refusal to humble oneself and be reconciled to those who oppose us.
It is genuinely tragic that Christians sometimes revel in the great truth that they have peace with God through the shed blood and redemptive work of the Lord Jesus, but show little interest in peace with their brothers and sisters. Spiritual pride often blinds believers to the seriousness of allowing a breach between themselves and their fellow child of God. It should not be tolerated! Believers must not rest until they have put right any wrongs committed against their fellow men - especially those of the household of faith. Hebrews chapter 12 verse 14 instructs us to: ‘Pursue peace with all, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord’, JND. Similarly Paul stated his ambition in no uncertain terms: ‘And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men’, Acts 24. 16. One of the basic qualifications of an elder is that he is not to be ‘a brawler’, 1 Tim. 3. 3. Christians are to be characterized by peaceful, inoffensive behaviour. When they offend, they ought to be quick to seek reconciliation.
Proverbs chapter 18 verse 19 states that ‘a brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle’. Peacemaking is not easy, but it is distinctly Christian, Matt. 5. 9. Taking a fellow believer to court is expressly forbidden, 1 Cor. 6. 1-8. Furthermore, they are encouraged to suffer for righteousness sake - not for their own misconduct, 1 Pet. 2. 20. Christ’s command shows that grace and peace are the defining characteristics of kingdom living.