Get It Right — Immediately!

Bill Brinkworth
“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” Mt 5:23-24   (Although much of the context of these verses is about another time, the principle of getting right with fellow Christians still applies today.)

As a church deaf interpreter, I was standing before the deaf congregation at the front of the church. After hearing what the pastor was saying over my right shoulder, I relayed what God had laid on Pastor Fedena’s heart to the deaf congregation.

One part of the sermon was about not holding a grudge against another Christian. Being angry at a brother or sister in Christ will hinder the Holy Spirit from working in one’s life and may keep one from being used by God.  The pastor detailed some examples of how that sin hurts individuals and the church.  The Lord began to deal with my heart about a grudge I was holding against a man in the church.  He had offended me and every time I looked at him, the smoldering embers of bitterness were rekindled.

Trying to concentrate on delivering the message to the deaf, and remembering my own sin, soon distracted me.  Then the pastor’s sermon became more personal and required a decision on my part. “If God is reminding you of a person you have something against, go to him and get it right.” As the preacher continued, he made the invitation even more immediate.  “If that person is here, go, get it right now.  Don’t delay!  Go to him or her and deal with your sin …”

“Gulp!” That was when the conviction became overwhelming.  I silently argued with the Lord while still interpreting.  “Lord, I can’t do it now.   I’m interpreting.  I’ll do it later ….”

The conviction became stronger, and dealing with it immediately seemed inevitable.  It was as if the preacher knew about the sin I had harbored in my heart and was speaking to me personally.  He did not, but it certainly felt like it.  More urges like “… now  … don’t grieve the Holy Spirit … go to that person now … don’t wait another second …” pestered my thinking.

That was it.  I could not take another second of the Holy Spirit’s conviction.  I signed to another nearby interpreter to take over and interpret for me.  After, he had taken my position, I looked for the man with whom I was harboring bitterness.  Wouldn’t you know it, he was sitting on the other side of church and towards the back.

I crossed the front of the church and went down the aisle to the back of the church.  It seemed like all eyes were on me, but I had to get that sin right.  I went to the man and leaned over to speak to him.  Without getting into details, and trying not to justify that my reasons were right in my mind, I apologized to him for getting angry at him and asked his forgiveness.  He must have been embarrassed as much as I, but fortunately he accepted my apology and the matter was closed. 

I had previously apologized to the Lord and now I had forgiven the man.  The conviction subsided.  I had done what the Lord told me to do.  Peace returned.

No matter what the other person did or said, it is most important for us not to sin. If the offender sinned, it should not be a reason for us to do likewise.  However, if we do sin it may require our humbling ourselves and getting it right with a family member, child, parent, friend, or acquaintance.  If their sin was greater, that is between them and the Lord.  Our concern should be to keep our slate clean from unconfessed sin.

Is there a person you may have something against?   Perhaps it is a matter that happened a long time ago, but it still gnaws at your memory.  Is that bitter feeling more important than grieving the Holy Spirit by harboring that sin?

If your conviction is reminding you of an unsettled matter, now would be a good time to get that sin forgiven by God and gotten right with that person.  You may not have to cross a whole church congregation, but you may have to pick up a phone, write a letter, or even make a visit to that person personally — TODAY!

“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:25-26
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9 

If anger is not restrained, it is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it.”   — Seneca

This article was featured in The Bible View #627.

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