“…on the day they realize their guilt..” Lev. 6:5

“..if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that you
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.” Matthew 5:23-24

When I understood that God was telling me to ask forgiveness from

someone I sinned against before meeting with Him, I realized
something about myself. It is easier to ask God for forgiveness than
to ask it from someone else. Perhaps because He already knows and loves
me anyway but to admit I am wrong to someone else? I hate that. When
I was six years old and in first grade, this was true even then. One day in
class, between the rows of desks, there was a large prized eraser on the
floor; I had always coveted one. I picked it up and took it back to my
desk. For some reason, I got out my blunt-edged safety scissors, cut it
into large chunks, and handed several out to some friends. I don’t
remember what happened in class but it was clear after dinner that my
teacher told my parents. They sent my brother and sister out of the
room and firmly lovingly tried to get me to tell them what I had done. But
I would NOT admit it. I knew they knew and they knew I knew they
knew!! But I kept my lips tightly closed and shook my head ‘No’ over and
over. I never did admit it and don’t remember how this ended, but I do
remember the awful feeling! Clearly, it is an event I have not forgotten and
a reminder that admission of guilt can still be a struggle.

Why is it that this command has a sense of urgency to it? Sin hurts the
innocent and festers to cause more hurt if not confessed and forgiven.
Perhaps it is to encourage humility, to free us from sin’s tentacles, or
because God loves to fix broken people and broken relationships! Mostly I
think it is to help us understand the high painful price the LORD Jesus paid
by shedding His blood for us. Regardless of the reasons, He wants us to
keep short accounts of these debts! When the Holy Spirit awakens our
memories of sins committed, we are to immediately go. Confess. Ask
forgiveness. Be reconciled. We are not to wait. It is one of the pathways
to more intimacy with the LORD and characteristic of an “altared life”.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart…Point out anything in me that
offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

Psalm 139:23-24

Francie Overstreet

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