Read Matthew 5:21-26
Human relationships are important to God. He cares how we interact with others. That probably goes without saying. But, is it possible that we understand that better in theory than we do in reality?
Do you, for example, live as if your attitudes towards others are just as important as your actions? That seems to be the point of the first two verses of today’s reading. Words spoken (perhaps under your breath or even silently in your thoughts) are just as lethal as any physical expression of animosity. That is so much the case that God even considers you guilty of murder for those words.
But Jesus illustrates the value of good human relationships by giving yet another example. Do you ever go to worship God while knowing that a relationship with another person is not all it should be? John points out the disconnect of such an idea with this divine logic, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen” (1 Jn. 4:20). No wonder, then, Jesus warns us against bringing an offering to our heavenly Father while knowing that attempts have not been made to reconcile a human relationship. Tense human relationships are often obstacles to worship God.
The Savior gives us a clear two-step plan in such instances:
- First, seek to resolve the tension between you and the person. (It is important to note that reconciliation is a two-way street that includes you and another person. Your willing attempt must be embraced by the other’s willingness to see things made right. For more information, read Romans 12:14-21.)
- Once resolution has been sought, the obstacle to worship has been removed. Now you are in a position to freely honor your loving Creator!
Is your worship of God being hindered by a relationship with a person? Before you take an active step towards giving honor, praise, service, or resources to God, do you need to make a phone call or a visit to set things right? Don’t let it keep you from doing what you were created for. You were created to worship God.