Have you ever considered that Jesus takes personally what we do or say to another person? Two New Testament passages make this particularly clear.
In Matthew 25, Jesus commends the righteous for ministering to His practical and personal needs, and He condemns the wicked for failing to do so. Both groups are perplexed as to when or how they might have done this.
In Matthew 25:31–46 Jesus is speaking of a judgment that will take place during His earthly reign, described in Revelation 20:4–6.
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?”
And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me…. As you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me” (Matthew 25:37–40, 45 ESV).
Acts 9 records the familiar account of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus:
But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven ﬂashed around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” (Acts 9:1–5)
According to these passages, the good and the evil that we do to others, we do to Jesus. This truth alone should provide reason enough for us to always strive to maintain a clear conscience.
Would you lie to Jesus? Would you steal from Him? Would you believe unfounded rumors about Him, then spread them as truth?
Would you get angry at Christ? Would you belittle or criticize Him? Would you hold a grudge against Him or give Him the silent treatment? Jesus says, “As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (v. 40).
Ask God to bring to mind anyone you may have treated in a way that was harmful to them (and therefore to Christ). Seek His forgiveness for your sin against Him and against the other individual(s), and ask God to show you how to gain a clear conscience with that person.
Revival and reconciliation are inseparable. You cannot be right with God, and not be right with your fellow man.
When our relationship with God is revived, our relationships with others are impacted. Broken relationships are mended; bitterness, grudges, critical spirits, anger, and conﬂict are replaced by genuine love, forgiveness, humility, and oneness.
Consider the revival that swept much of Canada and portions of the United States in the early 1970s. The epicenter of this movement was Ebenezer Baptist Church of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
During the initial days of this revival, two brothers were marvelously reconciled. Prior to that, they had not spoken to one another for two years, even though they attended the same church! However, one evening God broke through their hardness and pride, and they fell into each other’s arms, sobbing. The church could not help but notice the drastic change in them, and God greatly used their testimony to spread and deepen the work of revival.
Right relationships—especially within the family of God—are one of the most powerful means of communicating the gospel to a lost world.
Our God is a reconciling God, and when believers cannot get along with each other, or when we fail to resolve conﬂicts biblically, we actually discredit the gospel. When God’s people are reconciled to each other, we demonstrate the power of the gospel and make it believable.
In Ephesians 2, Paul explains that because Christ has reconciled us to God, we can now be reconciled to others. Here Paul is referring specifically to the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles to God and to each other. However, the principle applies to other relationships as well.
Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his ﬂesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility (Ephesians 2:12–16).
Through the cross of Christ, those who were once separated from God can draw near to Him. And through that same cross, the “dividing wall of hostility” that exists between us and others has been broken down, making it possible for us to be reconciled and to live at peace with each other.
Do you have a broken or strained relationship with any other person?
Are there currently any hurt feelings, unresolved conﬂict, bitterness, or anger in your heart? Are you holding a grudge against anyone?
Read Matthew 5:23–24. With this Scripture in mind, reﬂect on the various ways you are currently serving God (teaching a class, giving, attending worship services, witnessing, etc.).
Now visualize a traffic signal hanging between you and that activity. Is God calling you to stop or to continue? Is He giving you the green light because your conscience is clear, or has He turned the light red, indicating that you need to be reconciled with someone before your worship and service can be acceptable to Him?
Remember: Revival and reconciliation go hand in hand.
Adapted from Seeking Him, © 2004 by Life Action Ministries, written by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Tim Grissom with Life Action Ministries, published by Moody Publishers in Chicago, IL. Used by permission.