Pride is one of the most powerful forces in the world. When we come into conflict with one another, pride becomes quickly noticeable within ourselves, even when we don’t want to admit it. We feel that we are justified in our actions, and even if we are having a difficult time coming up with good reasons for the justification, we will work on it in our own heads until we come up with a good way to justify it.
That is why it becomes so difficult to reconcile with one another. Frequently, the situaiton itself is long gone and over with, and in the grand scheme of things happening around us may have been pretty trivial from the beginning. But it is our pride that prevents us from moving forward to reconciling with that other person and prevents repairing and reestablishing our relationship with them.
When that happens, we tend to just move on with our lives, preferring to just allow that other person, if they want to somehow reconcile with us, to come back to us. We feel we can just go on in our relationship with others and continue our relationship with God without a problem.
I think this is the type of situation that Jesus had in mind when he told his disciples:
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”
Just before this, Jesus had said, “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.” So Jesus is clearly putting a high priority on reconcilitation with this brother or sister. He is saying that we must repair and mend that relationship before we are to continue on. In fact, that is more important to coming to the altar of God. He says that we should leave the gift for God in front of the altar and first be reconciled, and then come back.
How would our lives change if we did this? How would the lives and the community of those around us change if we did this? What if, instead of broken relationships all around us, we lived in a world where reconciliation was the norm?
As it turns out, we have the power to make that change, both in our own lives and in the lives of the people around us in our community.