Lent – Day 13 – A Study of Matthew 5
“Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24
Under the old law, the Law of Moses, offerings were commanded and often given without regard for anything other than keeping the Law. But Jesus puts a different perspective on the giving of offerings and sacrifices made to the Lord. It was not enough to simply give, even in a disingenuous attitude. Now, under the New Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, giving was tied to the attitude of the heart and to forgiveness of offences. Gifts brought before God were extensions of the giver’s heart. God did not want nor did He need the empty sacrifices of the Pharisees that purported to honor God but were filled with hypocrisy because they disregarded what Jesus called the weightier matters of the Law.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.” Matthew 23:23
When we hold grudges and harbor unforgiveness our gifts are not acceptable to God because they are given without respect for His commandment to love one another and to forgive so that we may be forgiven. When we do not operate in Love we are not making our offerings and sacrifices as unto the Lord but we are motivated by another spirit. Unforgiveness is unrighteousness, and unrighteousness is sin. We cannot bring an offering motivated by our disobedience and expect to be accepted on our terms, disregarding His. All that is sin is of the devil.
So then, forgive quickly and if while you are worshipping God He prompts in your spirit the remembrance of an offence that has not been reconciled with your brother, leave your offering and go quickly and do whatever is necessary to make amends for your offence and seek forgiveness. If you do not receive forgiveness that then becomes a matter between them and the Lord. You have done your part and your offering is then acceptable.