If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
It was Communion Sunday, and the pastor was preaching on 1 Corinthians 11—the passage in which the apostle Paul admonishes certain wealthy Corinthians for celebrating the Lord's Supper unworthily by shutting out their poorer brothers and sisters in the faith.
The pastor wanted to make sure his congregation went through a moral inventory before taking the bread and the cup. So to conclude his exhortation, he quoted Matthew 5:23-24 and then said, "Some of you have destroyed a relationship by something you did or said. Even if it might mean missing Communion, God would rather that you get up right now and go into the lobby to call that person and apologize."
In the silence that followed, a large number of people went to the lobby, pulling out their cell phones as they went. The shining looks on their faces as they came back made it clear that they had been through a spiritual bath and were ready to commune with God.
To be authentic in our relationships, we must deal with our failures by confession, repentance, and seeking forgiveness from others. In doing so, we prepare ourselves for deep and loving relationships.
Father, show me ways my relationships could be more authentic through my own confession.
Dr. Gary Chapman is the beloved best-selling author of The Five Love Languages and Love as a Way of Life. For more information, click here.