My Thoughts. . .
“If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right” (Matthew 5:23-24).
This is a passage that few care to practice. Excuses are used by the injuring party to sidestep this teaching to justify his substitution. I have chosen The Message translation due to one of those excuses.
1). This passage is not bound upon us today because the KJV and “reliable” translations say, “bring thy gift to the altar.” It is talking about a Jew worshiping at the Temple (TLB, NLT). We are not under that system of worship today.
The location may be true because Jesus was talking to folks like himself who worshiped at the Temple altar. The principle is true regardless of covenant because in both systems, one worships God in each scenario by giving or making an offering.
The most common excuses and additions offered to offset that teaching are:
2) The offended person would not accept my apology if I went to him, so why bother?
3) The offended person doesn’t like me, so regardless of what I do, his only reaction would just make matters worse. Then I would be the offended party and he certainly would not come to me.
4) It is not my fault. He shouldn’t be so sensitive. He’s just trying to make it into a bigger issue than it is.
5) I don’t see why this should affect my worship just because he took offense to what I said and did? He made me do it!
6) Why should this affect my worship to God? I partake of the Lord’s supper just like the Bible teaches, so I’m following scripture. He doesn’t attend faithfully like I do.
Since the Lord gave this teaching, but the one who is offensive offers alternate action, isn’t that individual subtracting the Lord’s solution and adding his own manmade one? Isn’t that “another gospel”?
Rather than go to the offended party to talk things out, some will go to others, give enough information to make himself the offended one, which leaves the impression that the innocent person is the one who is disobedient. This “switch” portrays Jesus as an ignoramus whose teaching produces more conflict than peace in solving a disagreement.
The problem is that as sinful human beings, what is “right” has a tendency to look so wrong to us who make our substitutions to stay “right” with the Lord.