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Jesus said; Leave your gift there before the altar

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posted on Feb, 27 2015 @ 05:01 PM
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“So 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 and offer your gift” (Matthew ch5 vv23-24)

We only find this instruction in Matthew’s gospel.
Luke has not chosen to use that part of their assumed common source, though he has a version of the next two verses.
I’m taking a close look at these words, because I think they sometimes get interpreted the wrong way round.

A common explanation, as I’ve heard it preached, goes like this;
“This instruction is about the importance of having a forgiving nature.
You are preparing to place yourself in the presence of God.
Then you remember that you have a grievance against one of your brothers, because he has injured you. This is wrong.
You should, without delay, go and make a point of forgiving him, completely.
Only then are you in a fit state to present yourself to God.”

In other words, the instruction in Matthew has been co-opted into the service of the doctrine that “Christians should forgive everything automatically”.
I have great reservations about this doctrine, because it keeps company with the assumption that “God forgives everything automatically”, and I don’t think that one is true to the gospel.

The problem with the explanation I’ve just summarised is that it’s based on a careless misreading of the words of Jesus.
They are interpreted as, and even confidently quoted as, “if you have something against your brother”.
But look again at that quotation from Matthew.
The words In the text are the exact opposite; “If your brother has something against you”.

A true account would go like this;
“This instruction is about the importance of having a repentant nature.
You are preparing to place yourself in the presence of God.
Then you remember that one of your brothers has a grievance against you, because you have done him an injury. This is wrong.
You should, without delay, go and make a point of seeking his forgiveness, offering your repentance.
Of course he is bound to forgive you once you have repented (Luke ch17 vv3-4).
Only then are you in a fit state to present yourself to God.”

Admittedly the instruction appears to follow on from the previous verse, which is rebuking those who feel and express anger against their brothers. So there’s an excuse for reading it as a continuation of the same theme.
On the other hand, there’s also an argument for taking it with the following verses;
“Make friends quickly with your accuser… lest your accuser hand you over to the judge.”
This would be casting the aggrieved brother as the potential accuser, demanding justice from God.
That would make more sense in connection with “your brother has something against you”.

This instruction is presenting an important truth which “automatic forgiveness” teaching tends to neglect.
That is, the necessity of repentance in our dealings with other people as well as in our dealings with God.




posted on Feb, 27 2015 @ 05:10 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI
I concur with your evaluation. Thanks for the thread, I always appreciate someone reminding me to focus on what really matters.



posted on Feb, 27 2015 @ 05:11 PM
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a reply to: stosh64
Thank you for the encouragement.
Glad to have been helpful.



posted on Feb, 27 2015 @ 05:15 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

I always thought that is meant to leave the past behind you (alter) and forgive your brother. Its a really difficult way to live and I'm sure people are challenged to practice it every day. I know I have lots of people who I find a hard time forgiving and accepting their actions.



posted on Feb, 27 2015 @ 05:21 PM
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a reply to: JDmOKI
In the scenario that Jesus describes, the offering at the altar is only interrupted, not abandoned.
After you sort things out with your brother, you go back to the altar and finish the interrupted task;
"then come and offer your gift".

Yes, forgiveness is important, but the preachers who emphasis it tend to forget that the person who committed the injury in the first place has obligations too (and I think this passage is talking about them).


edit on 27-2-2015 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 27 2015 @ 05:54 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

“You need to repent.”

I’ve said this to people only a few times in my life.
One time was when a friend was talking about suicide.

Each time I explained that repenting simply means changing your mind.
If you are going in the wrong direction, you need to repent.
Just change your mind, and you move in the other direction.

Both times, my point was lost.
They only heard me say “repent” and thought I was being self-righteous.
That did not have the effect I was hoping for, so I have repented of using the word.



posted on Feb, 27 2015 @ 06:00 PM
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a reply to: wasaka
Yes, the problem is that "repent" has become jargon, which obscures the meaning.
Perhaps the answer is to find substitutes which mean the same thing but don't have baggage attached to them.
"Turn around" might do it.



posted on Feb, 27 2015 @ 07:04 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
“God forgives everything automatically” ... I don’t think that one is true to the gospel.

If that were true then repentance would be rather pointless. If somebody knowingly commits a sin, fails to repent and then believes they will automatically be forgiven...they are deluded. Repeating this over and again would obviously be foolish. If considering deadly sins then we're into a different territory altogether. For God will always be knowing of our true intentions.



posted on Feb, 27 2015 @ 07:09 PM
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a reply to: VigiliaProcuratio
Exactly.
I don't think the people who make that assumption really believe in the necessity of repentance towards God either.
It goes with a vague Universalism.
"Of course God will forgive me. C'est son metier".



posted on Feb, 27 2015 @ 09:53 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

That we may be washed of our errors, does not give the right to sin at will. While we might be selfish beings at times, and I for one shan't claim to be an exception, I'm inclined to regard the outright and malicious disregard of repentance...as blasphemy.



posted on Feb, 27 2015 @ 10:10 PM
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Maybe the 70x7 is better suited for forgiving those who have offened you.
a reply to: DISRAELI



posted on Feb, 28 2015 @ 02:20 AM
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That part of the scripture reminds me of some of the times life has caught me off guard. When it comes to heated situations, some those who I have offended shared their own short comings, rather then stooping to my level. It's alot easier to rage then try to reach out and shed some light on a situation through times they were feeling the same way I did ( in those moments).

When someone is upset or misunderstands another, it's hard to listen to what they say, but a stern reminder that your not the only one who has been there, or a humble acknowledgement of a lesson that needs to be learned can be more haunting or productive long term. I never really recognized this kind of response in my younger years, but have grown to admire that quality, because it was generally something my elders showed me. Very gracious of them, this tool had saved me from much pain.
edit on 28-2-2015 by dffrntkndfnml because: grammer



posted on Feb, 28 2015 @ 07:14 AM
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"Forgive us our trespasses, AS we forgive those who trespass against us"

Forgiving someone is actually extremely easy, IF, as you've implied, that person is truly sorry for what they've trespassed against.

I walk up and smack Disraeli. I say..."oh Disraeli, i don't know what came over me...I'm so sorry, I repent, will you forgive me?"

Disraeli, being a good Christian: "Of course I forgive you"

An hour later, I walk up and smack Disraeli once again, and much harder this time. I say..."oh Disraeli, I'm so sorry, I don't know what came over me, I repent, will you forgive me?"

Was I truly repentant the first time? Of course not. So am I forgiven again a second time? Yes! And the 7 times 7 times I smack you again! Why? Because you're only human, you don't know what's in my heart. I may be truly repentant that 49th time, and there won't be a 50th time.

God is different. He does know what's in a persons' heart. He does know if a person is truly repentant. He'll forgive ANYone, for ANYthing, as long as true repentance exists. And as someone stated above, true repentance only occurs with a change in actions, a change of heart. A conversion of heart.







a reply to: DISRAELI



posted on Feb, 28 2015 @ 07:25 AM
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a reply to: Ignatian

If you punch another man in the face umpteen times just to make a point about repentance then you have mental health issues.

I think this might apply here...


originally posted by: FlyersFan

You cannot make donations to the Church on the back of the
injustice that you commit with your employees.
~ The Pope
 
 
edit on 28-2-2015 by VigiliaProcuratio because:  



posted on Feb, 28 2015 @ 07:39 AM
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a reply to: Ignatian
Agreed, but I've heard preachers focussing on my own situation, as it were, and advising me that I should be forgiving you instantly without waiting for your repentance.
I was trying to correct the balance, because modern Christians seem to feel obliged to forgive an injury automatically, as soon as it happens.



posted on Feb, 28 2015 @ 07:41 AM
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a reply to: VigiliaProcuratio
I think Ignatian was actually using "I" in the Pauline sense; "If I or anyone..."
I don't think there is a secret desire to punch me in the face an infinite number of times.



posted on Feb, 28 2015 @ 07:51 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

I know mate, it was just easier to portray it like I did.

As for automatically forgiving, it's really down to the individuals and the circumstances. We might look at Christ's concept of "turning the cheek", but if you just got punched on it I dunno if that applies...
 
edit on 28-2-2015 by VigiliaProcuratio because:  



posted on Feb, 28 2015 @ 10:08 AM
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Forgiveness is truly a fascinating concept, and since the secret to happiness is humility and forgiveness, its a subject worthy of deep reflection. A few thoughts:

Jesus said we should "forgive those who trespass against us". That instruction comes without caveats, so I assume we're to forgive immediately, without verifying true repentance.

He said we're to forgive...but he didn't say we have to forget. If I "forgive" the debt of the 20 bucks you owe me, I certainly won't forget it, and good luck the next time you ask to borrow 20 bucks.

In a similar way, when we sin, and ask forgiveness..."the sword still remains in the family". We're forgiven, but it's not forgotten, and there are consequences.

I have no intention of smacking you :-)
That's an analogy I've used in the past to illustrate true repentance in Reconciliation.


a reply to: DISRAELI



posted on Feb, 28 2015 @ 10:13 AM
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a reply to: Ignatian


Should you lend a man £20 and you never see him again, it was money well-spent.



posted on Feb, 28 2015 @ 12:11 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

When I find myself at the "ALTAR", arms laden with my presentation, more often than not, my "gift" is something that I consider a burden, too heavy to carry any longer.

It makes sense to first offer some sort of repentance and condolence to the ones who also share in the "karma" of that "burden" as well.

Of course, offerings of thanks for blessings are light as air, and easily float to their intended target. Indeed, some claim that it's our burdens that keep us anchored to this plane of existence in the first place.

I had been thinking about my ex, and sending out vibes questioning that era of my life. I've recently found no sounding board, nothing, no vibes coming back to me. That made a lot of sense when I found out that he had passed away. I can't share those "burdens" with him any longer. They ALL need to go on the "ALTAR" from here on out.


edit on 28-2-2015 by windword because: (no reason given)



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