Hearts Matter
By YuriArcursPeopleimages

Matthew 5:21–26 ‘Therefore, if you… remember that your brother or sister has something against you… First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.’ (vv23–24)

At some time in your life, you have probably been on the end of a donation request. A charity you support, a salesperson, a request at the checkout of a petrol station.

But how often has anyone had any concern about your heart first? Did anyone think to check that your relational life was smooth before you transferred the money?

Of course not. But Jesus continues majoring on the heart. You need to make sure your heart doesn’t harbour anger, irrespective of what you do, he says.

The assumption is that this is a serious matter, and you know it needs sorting. This is such a priority that giving in church (temple) must be delayed so you can seek reconciliation.

But do you see what the text says? ‘If they have something against you’ (my italics). It seems like the wrong way round, but the onus is on us because reconciliation matters.

devotional bible verse website square 12

Of course, they may not accept your forgiveness, or look to reconcile. But at least you have tried.

This is also saying that people like to be seen to be in church, but God sees where the heart is and would rather you were somewhere else seeking reconciliation than mouthing platitudes with a heart that is at odds with another.

In some churches, there is a chance to ‘share the peace’ before communion, which is a recognition of the need to ‘reconcile’ if we need to.

It’s often a pleasant routine in practice, but a reminder that we need to be at peace with others, as we give gifts and remember our oneness in Christ.


A Prayer To Make:
God, I know that my heart matters to You, so help me spot when I am out of sorts with others and to sort it out soon. Amen.

An Action To Take:
If you know there’s a reconciliation to be made, take the first step: an email, text, letter, invitation for coffee.

Scripture To Consider:
Gen. 33:1–20; Mal. 4:1–6; Matt. 18:15–17; 2 Cor. 9:6–11

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.