Be Reconciled to Your Brother/Sister
23 So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.
My father was the youngest of three children growing up in poor circumstances in Northern Ireland between the wars. When his father died, he and his brother were put into an orphanage as their widowed mother could not afford to raise three children. She and her daughter left Ireland to live in Scotland. I never knew my father’s mother as she died before I was born, but we often met with my aunt and her family who lived in nearby Glasgow and we would spend summer vacations with my uncle and his family in Ireland. I often asked why we never all met up as a family. I never received a satisfactory answer until I came to understand that my aunt and uncle had had a falling out and had not spoken to each other in over 25 years. No one, not even my feuding aunt and uncle, could remember exactly what had happened to cause the rift all those long years ago.
Both my aunt and uncle were faithful churchgoers, my aunt was in the Salvation Army and wielded a fierce tambourine and my uncle was a staunch Presbyterian and a dedicated Free Mason. Despite their Christian faith, they could not reconcile their differences. I cannot help but think this passage in Matthew was meant for them. Surely all of the gifts they offered in service were diminished as they could not find love for one another.
They finally met again and reconciled after almost 30 years of not speaking and not being able to love one another, however the reconciliation was tinged with great sadness as the event that brought them together was the funeral services for my father. Don’t waste even a second on hate and blame but as the scripture says, “be reconciled with your brothers and sisters” and let love win the day. Can there be a more relevant message for us at this time in our country?
Heavenly Father: We thank you for the gift of your endless love, demonstrated in the world by your Son. Help us to turn aside from bias and hate, and learn to love our brothers and sisters, wherever they may be and let your kingdom of love reign here on earth. Amen.