Commands of Christ

Be Reconciled

Where is this command found?

“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”

Matthew 5:23–24

Applying This Command

When we offend someone, naturally our first response is to justify ourselves rather than seeking reconciliation. Regardless if we are at fault or not, this type of attitude is focused on one thing: self. At its root, this selfish focus is fueled by a spirit of pride. It is our pride that not only prevents us from experiencing unity with the one whom we have offended, it also hinders oneness in our relationship with God.

Pride is self-confident, self-focused and self-saturated. There is no room to focus on anyone else or their needs. But, when we consider the command Be Reconciled, we find that we need each other. Not only this, but we cannot accomplish God’s will without one another.

This is why the command Be Reconciled is so important. As believers in Jesus Christ, God’s Word says that we are members “one of another” in the Body of Christ (Romans 12:5). Our actions not only affect us, they impact those around us—especially those closest to us. It is only as we humble ourselves and seek to make past offenses right that we will maintain close fellowship with God and fulfill His purposes, operating as one in the Body of Christ.

Bible Verses for Meditation

In addition to meditation on Matthew 5:23–24, meditating on the verses below will provide you with further insight and understanding of Christ’s command: Be Reconciled.

Ephesians 4:26

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”

I Corinthians 12:25–27

“That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”

Acts 24:16

“Herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.”

Romans 12:17–18

“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

Proverbs 21:14

“A gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.”

Proverbs 17:14

“The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.”

Related Episodes

From the Podcast

Dive deeper into the command Be Reconciled with these episodes from the Commands of Christ podcast!

Study Question

Q: What did Jacob actually do to turn his brother from hatred and plans of murder to forgiveness and brotherly affection?

A: Jacob and Esau went from bitter hatred to embracing one another and weeping on each other’s necks in full forgiveness. The steps that brought about this great reconciliation can be used as general guidelines for reconciliation within all our relationships.

Reconciliation is usually motivated by God’s reproofs for unresolved offenses, and this was proved when Jacob had deceived his father and was in continual conflict with Laban, his father-in-law. When he finally fled from Laban, he was faced with the threat of his bitter brother Esau.

Jacob knew that for reconciliation to take place, God had to do it. It was on this basis that he prayed, “Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother … Esau: for I fear him” (Genesis 32:11). As Jacob cried out to God, his words were fervent and effectual. Such prayer follows the instruction of James 5:16: “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

As part of our reconciliation we must make restitution for what we have taken or damaged. Jacob realized his need not only to give an unexpected gift, but to make restitution to his brother Esau. He prepared “a present for Esau his brother; two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams, thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals” (Genesis 32:13–15).

Reconciliation also requires turning all pride into a spirit of serving. Jacob told his herdsmen to identify him as Esau’s servant rather than his brother. He reiterated this statement when he personally met Esau. This servant’s spirit is vital, since it was the lack of this attitude that caused the initial conflict.

When Jacob finally met Esau after crying out to God, making restitution, and wrestling with the angel for God’s blessing, he demonstrated humility not only by bowing before Esau, but by having his wives and children also bow. God blessed this attitude of humility by causing Esau to fully forgive and release Jacob from the wrong that was initially committed against him.

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