A Brother Or Sister Who Remembers That Someone Has Something Against Them!


“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.” Matthew 5:23-26

A Brother Or Sister Who Remembers That Someone Has Something Against Them!


Later in Matthew 18:15, Jesus speaks of the one who causes the sin, the one who is sinned against must take the first step and go to the offending brother or sister, but here in Matthew 5, Jesus speaks about the innocent person who remembers that someone had a complaint against him. In both cases, we see Jesus encouraging both the offended and the offender to get together to sort their issues out.

Jesus uses the word ‘therefore’, because of the seriousness of the attitude sins He’s just spoken about. In Jesus’ mind unity amongst believers is more important than worship because if unity doesn’t prevail our worship is a waste of time and God won’t accept our worship.

Reconciliation with our brother or sister who has something against us needs to be dealt with first, simply because anyone with hatred in their hearts can’t receive mercy from the One who gives it. Jesus says, ‘go and be reconciled,’ then you can come to worship, the Christians needs to settle matters quickly because that evil in our heart will just grow into bitterness.

The word, ‘adversary’ is a word used by the accuser in a lawsuit and implies in the context that it’s better to settle any disputes as quickly as you can before it ends up going to court where the judge will get involved and exercise the law against one of them by that time it’s usually too late for reconciliation, because either party may find themselves in prison.

A ‘penny’ was a small, insignificant copper coin. After the debtor was put into prison he was held there until the debt was paid, but if he couldn’t pay the debt, he would stay in prison until he died.

Jesus’ warning against lawsuits is clear, but we could easily avoid all these problems if we simply went and settled matters between ourselves first.


It’s never easy settling disputes between Christians, usually, pride and self-righteousness or the pain of being hurt get in the way but here Jesus reminds us of the consequences of harbouring sinful attitudes towards each other.

I’ve seen it a few times when things aren’t dealt with quickly, the situation just gets worse, the hatred grows into resentment and so forth, James 1:14-15. We only have to look at what’s happening in the world today between countries to see this in action.

The words we use to communicate with one another can be very encouraging but if we’re not careful they can also be very damaging, James 3:8. There is much wisdom in Christ’s words here because when we do ‘go and settle matters quickly’, we soon discover that it becomes very therapeutic in terms of feeling at peace with one another again as the reconciliation begins. The unity of the church is paramount to Jesus and should be for Christians too.

Over the years as a Christians, I’ve heard people who say that they won’t partake of the Lord’s Supper because they have an issue with someone or someone has an issue with them. While all this sounds very noble, Jesus’ teaching here goes way beyond the Lord’s Supper, He says we shouldn’t even be trying to worship God, we shouldn’t be in worship until we first go and settle our issues and bring about reconciliation.

Do you know a brother or sister who has something against you? Or do you have something against a brother or sister?

Maybe today would be a good day, to be reconciled with your brother or sister in Christ.

‘If it is possible, as far as it depends on YOU, live at peace with everyone.’ Romans 12:18