Be Reconciled – Not Bitter
Jesus Talks to Us About Reconciliation Matthew 5 Series
“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
God's priority is our responsibility.
Romans 12:2 tells us:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Consider Ephesians 4:25-32:
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
What God Hates
God hates bitterness because of what it does to us and what it says to Him.
Consider these passages:
But for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen?If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”
A man of wrath stirs up strife,
and one given to anger causes much transgression.
But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.
The Most Deadly Sort of Bitterness
Silent bitterness is deadly; silent bitterness grows like cancer; silent bitterness becomes stubborn bitterness; stubborn bitterness brings death.
Here's an example from Genesis 4:8:
Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.
And we read this is Hebrews 12:11-15:
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.
STEPS TO HELP YOU LIVE THIS OUT:
1. TALK ABOUT IT WITH YOUR BROTHER.
Matthew 18:15 gives us guidance:
If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
2. ASK GOD TO HELP YOU AVOID ALLOWING STALE OFFENSES TO GROW INTO AN ACT OF BITTERNESS.
Consider James 3:13-18:
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
WHEN YOU'RE STRUGGLING WITH AN OFFENSE, CONSIDER JESUS ON THE CROSS.
Remember Luke 23:34:
And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”