July 08, 2008

Making the First Move

Matthew 5:23-24

“First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
Matthew 5:24


Some years ago I watched an interview with a marriage counselor on television. One thing he said has stuck with me ever since. He said that in his work with countless couples over the years he noticed a pattern of behavior repeating itself. The spouse who was least responsible for problems in the marriage was typically the most interested in working them out. And usually the one who was most to blame for the breakdown of the marriage showed the least interest in trying to restore it. That insight says a lot about the hardening effect of sin on the human heart. To borrow a line from Shakespeare's King Lear, some people are “more sinned against than sinning.” Often these are the ones who initiate reconciliation by reaching out to those who have hurt them. Did you notice what Jesus says in today's Scripture reading? He says we must be reconciled with those who have something against us. Often that includes those who have hurt us and have never apologized. Are you waiting for an apology that may never come? Here's another thing the marriage counselor said: the fact that someone has wronged you may be the very thing that prevents him from making it right. Who knows what wonderful things could happen if you just made the first move to be reconciled?

Dear Lord, thank you for making the first move by loving us even when we were your enemies. Help us to live in peace with others. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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