February 15, 2017

Peacemakers and Forgiveness

Larry Steller

The young pastor sat in my office explaining his conflict with another pastor. I asked him what action would resolve the conflict. “All he has to do is call me”, he said. “If he will just make the move, and call, we can easily resolve this conflict. I have no problem with him! He is the one with the problem, and so all he has to do is call me!”
So who is actually responsible for making the first move toward forgiveness?
Jesus talks about forgiveness in both Matthew 5 and Matthew 18. In Matthew 5:23 Jesus says, “so if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple, and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person…”

Peacemakers are willing to go first

Here Jesus makes it quite clear that If I have offended another person I am to go to that person and make things right. It is my responsibility.
However, in Matthew 18:15, Jesus says, “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense.” Here, if another person has offended me, I am to go to him.
So either way, if I have offended someone, or they have offended me, it is my responsibility to make the first move. I wonder if it is for that reason Jesus blesses peacemakers because peacemakers are willing to go first. It is the greater responsibility.
Here’s a question: Are any of my relationships stressful, tense, or even completely broken because I am unwilling to make the first move toward healing?

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