Daily Thought for: 18th April
LEAVE THERE THY GIFT...FIRST BE RECONCILED
Matthew 5. 23-24
The Lord Jesus’ command for believers to let their light shine refers to testimony to those who are without. By contrast, the above instruction speaks of relationships among those who are within the community of believers. In the context of Matthew chapter 5, our Lord’s words have special reference to Israel and will become even more appropriate during our Lord’s millennial reign. Nevertheless, this command also elucidates a principle for Christians in the local assembly.
The Lord indicates the importance of right behaviour among brethren, telling us that to be angry with a brother or to verbally malign him is a serious sin, Matt. 5. 22. ‘He that soweth discord among brethren’ is enumerated among the seven abominations that the Lord hates, Prov. 6. 19. John indicates that love for our brothers and sisters is one of the signs of true life in Christ. He says: ‘We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren’, 1 John 3. 14-16. These Scriptures and many others show the value the Lord places on family life in the community of saints.
Seeing that the Lord places such a premium on correct relationships, His command to be reconciled with an offended brother makes perfect sense. How can we rightly worship the Lord and yet be estranged from a fellow believer for whom He died? If Christians would take this injunction seriously in their dealings with fellow believers before coming to the Lord’s Supper, assemblies would be far more unified and holy. Moreover, old hurts would not be left to fester until they become open divisions. The Lord’s peace would reign in every heart and our prayers would be unhindered. Sadly, Satan often gets a foothold in the assembly by means of a lack of correct thinking and behaviour among believers. To know that we have offended a fellow saint and yet glibly go to publicly worship the Lord is an error of the highest magnitude.