The Process of Peace

After warning us of the eternal consequences of resentment, Jesus instructs us in how to be reconcile us with someone whom we have offended. Notice carefully: Jesus does not tell us how to deal with someone who has offended us (that will come later, in 18:15-20). No, His concern here is with those whom we have hurt. Why? Is it because He wants us to protect others from the deadly effects of anger against us? Knowing how dangerous it is for someone to harbor resentment, we should place their spiritual welfare ahead of our own. Therefore, before we worship God, we must do what we can to become reconciled with those who are upset with us, so that they might be reconciled to the Lord! Jesus has taken the command, “You shall not murder” to a new depth. Not only are we not to hate others, or harm them by word or deed, but we are to seek to rescue them from the peril of hating or hurting us! In other words, we must seek the spiritual health of others, even before our own enjoyment of worship towards God. When you consider that someone may have something against us because we treated them badly, and that we probably offended them because we did not love them enough to be kind and gentle, then Jesus is here commanding us to pursue people whom we do not really like with an active love that will stop at nothing less than reconciliation. Of course, the Lord would not tell us to do something that was bad for us. In the last two verses of this paragraph (25-26), He warns that unless we do make friends with our adversaries (those whom we have angered), then they will probably pursue us with hatred until they have harmed us as much as possible. Can you imagine how much better this world would be if we all followed the teachings of Jesus?