“If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift, go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”– Mat_5:23-24.
THERE IS a marked difference between memory and recollection.
Memory resembles a great box or chest into which a man casts his letters, accounts, and manuscripts; recollection is the readiness, be it less or more, with which he can lay his hand on what he requires. We know that it is somewhere in our possession, we remember to have seen and turned it over, but search as we may we cannot find or recall it.
But there is a moment of quickened recollection when we stand before God: “When thou bringest thy gift to the altar and rememberest.” As the Divine searchlight plays upon our past life it reveals many things which had passed from our mind. Conscience is a keen quickener of our powers of recollection.
What has your brother against you? This–that you flamed out against him in passion, with bitter, angry words, in hatred and contempt; or this–that you have been sullen and sulky, scarcely answering his advances, meeting his salutations with grudging courtesy. Perhaps you have done him a positive wrong, and have taken from him his only covering, or have forborne to help him when he stood in sore need (Exo_22:26-27; Exo_23:4-9).
We are bidden to get right with man, as the first step to acceptance with God–” first be reconciled to thy brother.” Humility is necessary in every approach to God, and nothing so humbles our pride as to confess our faults to our brethren. Truth is necessary to all right dealings with God, and nothing will so promote truth in our inward parts as to be transparent and simple in our dealings with our fellows. Sincerity in confession of sin is an essential beginning of peace with God, but how can we be sure that our confession is sincere unless it costs us something more than words. “‘First, be reconciled with thy brother”–not only with the brother of human flesh–but with our great Brother in the Glory (Gen_1:17-21; Heb_2:11). Then come offer thyself, as thy gift; He will accept thee, and thy gifts.
Give unto us, O Lord, we beseech Thee, broken and contrite hearts. Help us to do all that ought to be done to make amends, and grant unto our brother the willingness to meet us with forgiveness and peace. So shall we have peace with Thee, our Elder Brother, against whom we have grievously sinned. AMEN.