“…go first and be reconciled with your brother.”Matthew 5:24
Finding it hard to reconcile with someone right now? Find it hard to forgive or ask for forgiveness in general? Perhaps you feel that those who do you injustice deserve a judgement? Will you be the one to pass judgement or will you be the one to forgive and allow God to pass judgement?
In the gospel of Matthew 5:21-26, Jesus teaches us about anger towards our brother or sister. He is pretty clear that when we hold anger against our brother or sister, we are liable to judgement ourselves. In Matthew 6:15, he also tells us that if we “do not forgive others, neither will [our] Father forgive [our] transgressions.”
What does that mean to us in our Lenten journey?
The other day, one of my daughters at bedtime was a little upset with me and her actions revealed her frustrations and anger. She is a very sweet natured young lady but sometimes small things really frustrate her and she struggles with internalizing and dampening those frustrations. That night, her frustrations surfaced outwardly. The next morning, she warmed my heart when I woke up to the sweetest apology. After I had gone to bed, she colored and cut out little hearts and wrote an apology note in the shape of a heart, along with a drawing of two hearts representing my heart and hers joined together. The small hearts she colored and cut left a trail from my bedroom to the counter where her apology note was placed. Her note was not only one of apology of her frustrations and actions towards me that night but it was a note of affirmation of the love that she holds in her heart for me.
In this action, my daughter not only revealed her heart to me as her mother but it also taught me how important apologies and forgiveness are. Sometimes we don’t think how impactful our words, our expressions or our actions can hurt someone. We are fragile goods that require tenderness and care. God created us to love. In order to love the Father, we must love each other. To love each other, we must reconcile our differences, forgiving one another our transgressions so that we too may receive forgiveness from God when we have sinned against Him. It’s such a simple concept, yet it’s a difficult task.
Justification and judgement… When someone hurts us, we justify our anger towards them and want to see justice. We refuse to forgive and deliver the judgement on that person ourselves, not allowing God to do so.
What are we telling God when we hand out the judgement? I don’t need You. I can do this myself. Your way won’t be enough. I don’t trust You to handle this for me so I’ll just do it on my own.
Our invitation today may be to seek that one person in our hearts that we have been unable to forgive and ask Jesus to help you to forgive that person. Let’s leave a trail of hearts to the center of our heart where the intensity of God’s love resides.
Lord, search my heart for unforgiveness. When you find it, reveal to me that person’s name and help me to release that person from his/her transgressions towards me, freeing me and them.