Peace and Reconciliation

In a few weeks time, baptized members of the Church of God will be taking the Passover as instructed by Jesus (compare John 13). This is an annual event that the Church of God has kept down through the centuries. But before we take the Passover, there are many things that we have to do.

As we are reminded in Rene Messier’s new member letter, we are told to examine ourselves – not others. It is very easy to examine the faults and sins of other people but much more uncomfortable to review our own situation. This self examination, while ongoing throughout our lives, takes on extra significance as we approach the Passover (see 1 Corinthians 11:27-28). We should examine every aspect of our lives, and we should all heed the instruction given by Jesus to the lawyer in Matthew 22:34-40, to love both God and man with all of our hearts. If we have a problem with someone which might inhibit our relationship with him or her, we are told exactly what to do.

Matthew 18:15-17 is a short passage of Scripture, which deals with interpersonal relationships and conflict resolution, but pride and lack of courage can often get in the way. Nevertheless, it is the way that God instructs in sorting out a problem. The apostle Paul talks about a ministry of peace and reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). We are to “leave our gift at the altar and be reconciled” (Matthew 5:22-24). What if the other party refuses to reconcile and although he understands this admonition, he works his way around the behavior that God expects? If we have made the approach and been rebuffed, there is little we can do except to pray that God will open the mind of that person. It truly is a great sadness when this happens.

However others behave does not give us license to act in a similar fashion. Christ, when He was dying on the cross, asked His Father to “forgive them for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). We should take exactly the same position, not because of smugness or self-righteousness, but with a humble attitude knowing that it is the way that pleases God. Reviewing and implementing all of these admonitions will ensure that we can take the Passover in a worthy manner, knowing that we have fulfilled the Biblical admonition to examine ourselves.

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