Therefore, 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.
When we offer our gifts to God, whether it’s money or abilities, we are to give them to him whole-heartedly, but how can we put our whole heart into it when it’s burdened with anger and guilt. Both of these emotions, if left to grow, will destroy any relationship. Eventually, they will begin to grow to an obsession that can fill our heart and mind, pushing out any positive emotion. Ephesians 4:26 says, “In your anger do not sin; do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”
Christ, in Matthew 5:23-24, talks about reconciliation. According to the “American Heritage Dictionary” the word “reconcile” means to reestablish a relationship. It also means to settle or resolve. If we are to love God with all our heart, we can’t allow it to be dominated by anger; we must settle any argument with our loved ones before they grow, and reestablish our relationship with them.
We know that we have to release our anger, but reestablishing the relationship completely is not so easy. There are two elements required to give a relationship its strength. The first element, forgiveness, will help you settle your anger, whether you forgive, or ask for forgiveness. Either way, forgiveness must be present in order to keep anger and guilt from being consuming.
The second element is more important in keeping the relationship from falling apart completely, and that is trust. Even after you have forgiven each other, and the anger has been settled, trust may take some time before it can fully be restored. If we are to restore trust, strengthen our relationship, and keep anger from dominating our heart, we must give full priority to our relationship to God first, then to each other.
Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and give priority to your relationships, for this is the only way to give your gifts to God with all your heart.
Challenge: If you have a relationship that has fallen apart from anger, forgive each other, then make restoring trust a priority. This will reestablish the relationship, and give it strength. Then you can give your whole heart to God.