We live in a “move on, move forward, ready to leave it behind” culture. If a star athlete or a politician is caught up in some type of controversy or illegality, the typical response is, “I’m ready to move on;” “I’m ready to move forward from here.” In other words, the person usually is saying he is ready to get out of this uncomfortable situation as fast as possible. The Christian culture is becoming no different.
People in churches become upset about something or someone, complain about it to others, but when needing to actually reconcile the situation, the common response is, “I’m ready to move on.” And they often do, to another church.
What’s interesting about this command of Jesus is it is very hard to follow in a move on, move forward, ready to leave it behind culture. Because when you do realize someone has something against you or is angry with you and you seek them out, you are likely to hear, “I don’t want to discuss it. I’m ready to move on.” Nothing has been settled. There is no reconciliation. The conflict is merely brushed aside, but certainly not forgotten.
Paul tells us that, as followers of Jesus, we have a “ministry of reconciliation,” bringing people back into a right relationship with God. (II Corinthians 5:18) That is the theme of the whole Bible—God seeking to be reconciled to His people. It makes sense then that Jesus would place a huge emphasis on believers being reconciled with each other, to the point of putting the burden on the one who is not angry to seek out reconciliation with the person who is.
If we are called to be a part of God’s work of reconciling people to Him, then doesn’t it make sense we should be more adept at reconciliation with fellow believers? Instead of moving on, we should be going back to the person toward whom we have hard feelings and be reconciled. There is a time to move on, but it is definitely not before making every attempt to restore a relationship that has been broken.
Today, if you have something against a fellow believer, or know of someone who is upset with you, then make it a priority to go to that person and talk through the issue. You may instead want to move on, but it is clear from Jesus that is not an option for those who follow Him.
© Jim Musser 2016