Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ninja Turtle Forgiveness

Even in a matter so basic as our giving, the ability to truly worship God is hindered by the reality of relationships broken by our wrong actions, attitudes, and words.

“If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift (Matthew 5:23-24).”

Here goes Jesus again, saying something that seems crazy to the Jewish men He would have been talking to. They were all about the temple and offering sacrifices because that is what they knew God wanted and that is what pleased God. Jesus flips the switch here again and says something different. If you are coming to the alter to offer a sacrifice and you have a broken relationship then you should drop what you are doing, even though it is seemingly for God, and go get that relationship right. I think the biggest mistake we can sometimes make is not taking Jesus at His word, take it as some kind of joke or, “you can’t be serious Jesus!” type of deal. This makes sense for the alter right, you have to approach the alter righteously and cannot have messed up issues like a broken relationship before you give to God right? We also are quick to become smug twenty-twenty visionaries. What I mean is we smack our teeth and shake our heads at the behavior of the Pharisees and Disciples, but never try to apply that situation to us, here and now. The temple and alter system is gone, Jesus tore in two when He was crucified. Jesus now lives and the temple is now within us. Paul calls us to live everyday as a living sacrifice too (Romans 12). So we are to be a sacrifice as the temple, since that is what we are right? Then living our lives should be an offering or sacrifice to Christ right? That’s easy to think of, many people say they want to live their lives for Christ. What happens though when Jesus tells us to leave the temple and go reconcile a relationship before a sacrifice is pleasing to Him? Can we separate ourselves? No, that would be a little bit bloody and gross.

It is impossible to please God with a sacrifice if we have a broken relationship out there. That’s what Jesus said above isn’t it? This false idea that is being injected into the churches veins is poison, the idea that you can forgive, but do not need to reconcile that relationship. You can forgive and never have to face that person or attempt reconciliation. Forgiveness is sold to us as a one way deal, as long as we forgive in our head then no actual action is required, it is a interpersonal thing. I say poo on that! Forgiveness is hard, it requires you to face your demons, face the pain, face the hurt, the past, it requires more than a simple intellectual acknowledgment of a foreign idea. Forgiveness takes action, it takes reconciling relationships.

If you do not reconcile these relationships then your offering is not pleasing to God. Swallow that, it goes down about as easy as an old Ninja turtle figurine doesn’t it. May you forgive, reconcile relationships. May you be a pleasing sacrificial offering to God, may you reconcile with your brother or sister before you offer to God. May you deal with forgiveness even though it is hard. Pray for strength and help from Him, He wants us to endeavor down this hard road of forgiveness!

1 comment:

  1. Appreciate your thoughts on forgiveness here. Yeah, its hard to get around this one. The urgency that Jesus illustrates makes this the main thing. Passages like Matthew 6:14-15 and Luke 17:3-4 drive it home too. And the said thing that occurs when we don't initiate and receive forgivness is the divide that is created in the Body (2 Corinthians 2:11). Keep digging in Adam. Good stuff fosho.