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Horizontal Unity

Commentaries

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Horizontal Unity

Revolworks

The overall purpose of human communication is — or should be — reconciliation. It should ultimately serve to lower or remove the walls of misunderstanding which unduly separate us human beings, one from another.
— M. Scott Peck

Matthew 5:23-26
Hebrews 12:14
John 16:7-11

Brian was the quintessential straight-laced Midwestern fraternity boy: funny, nerdy, and leader of the well attended chapter Bible study.  His position endeared him to most, but made him a nuisance to others. Some in the house were skeptical of the influence he had with the rest of the guys, and feared that the frat’s reputation would go down as the Bible thumping went up.  As the year wore on, tension with one critic in particular became apparent. Brian was not technically doing anything wrong, but sensed that Chris may or may not have grown to hate his guts.

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

“I really don’t have anything to be sorry about,” thought Brian one night as he went to bed. But he couldn’t shake Chris’s aversion from his mind. Midnight rolled around, and soon it was one o’clock and he still couldn’t sleep.

“Okay God, fine. I’ll call him and get this over with. But it’s gonna be your fault when this ticks him off,” he muttered as he slid out of bed. “There’s no way he’ll be up… if I call the house phone and nobody answers, then I’m off the hook.” The phone in the hallway rang once, twice, and *Click*

“Hello? Yeah, this is Brian. Chris isn’t still up, is he?”

“As a matter of fact he just walked out of the bathroom.”

Brian groaned.

“ Hey, Chris, phone for you.” Pause. “…Hello?”

“Hey Chris. It’s Brian. I’m calling because I know I’ve been acting like a self-righteous S.O.B . . . and I’ve been lying in bed for 2 hours trying to convince myself not to call you. I wanted to tell you I’m sorry and see if you’d consider forgiving me.”

Something changed on the other end of the line. “You’ve been lying awake thinking about me? The first day I met you I thought you were a complete hypocrite. Maybe you’re not as bad as I thought . . .”

We’re called to love God above all else. We fixate on this noble goal, but forget we can only do this once we are reconciled with our fellow earth-mates. Jesus places such a premium on the horizontal unity of his followers that he urges us to leave our gifts and go make things right. “Go on, get!” He urges.

How will we know if there’s a brother or sister holding a grudge against us, rightfully or not? What if we keep “offering our gift” in futility because we don’t even realize there’s an open wound out there with our name on it?

Thankfully, we’re not solely responsible. The Holy Spirit brings a sensitivity that surpasses what our broken spirits are capable of. We don’t have to figure out who needs our attention here on earth, we simply have to actively listen, and ask to be led.

Who came to your mind while reading this?
What fears do you have about reaching out to them?
What promptings might you be ignoring?

Hollis

Ⓒ  Revolworks 2018