The Race to Reconciliation

Good words from Tyler Kenney about kingdom character when relationships are strained:

Jesus sets those who need to confess and those who need to forgive in competition.

His charge to confessors:

“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go.   First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24)

His charge to forgivers:

“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25)

Notice in his charge to forgivers that Jesus doesn’t say, “Forgive, if you have anything against anyone and they have asked for forgiveness.”   No, the person who is wronged is commanded to forgive his offender regardless of whether he asks for it or not.

Likewise, we don’t see in Jesus’ words to confessors any freedom for them to assume they have already been forgiven and can just forget about confessing.

In both instances, whether offender or offended, Jesus calls us to outdo the other in showing love.   We aren’t given any room to justify a broken relationship by somehow shifting the responsibility onto the other person.   Jesus has made doubly sure that forgiveness and reconciliation happen by making both parties equally responsible to pursue it.

What a remarkable atmosphere our God has designed for peace and unity among his followers!   He truly is a God who loves mercy.