By Marcus omdahl,
Minister, New Beginnings
Have you ever been there? Have you ever said something you wish you could take back? Have you ever snapped at your child for an insignificant offense (spilled milk?) What does the Bible say we should do when we know we have done something wrong? Confess (Numbers 5, 1 John 1). Come clean with God. But that is not all. Come clean with God, and then go make it right with the one we’ve wronged. In the Bible, confession isn’t meant to be a substitute for restitution, its meant to be a starting point.
One of the most radical things Jesus taught is in Matthew 5:21-26. Jesus challenges his followers, while in the midst of their religious exercises, to actually stop what their doing, leave the temple, and go make amends with those they know they have wronged. What? Deal with our neighbor, before we deal with God? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? That’s what makes Jesus so radical. According to Jesus, our relationship with God actually hinges on our relationship with others. If we want to be “good” with Him, we need to make sure we’re “good” with others…that they’re “good” with us. Wow.
An illustration: Whenever one of my daughters begin to date, my relationship to their boyfriend will be contingent on how he treats her. Right? If he breaks her heart (which will happen, most likely) my heart will break. If he does something cruel to her and has the nerve to confess what he’s done to me, that would be nice. But it’s not a substitute for saying sorry to my daughter. If he comes to me to apologize, I’m going to challenge him to go to my daughter. Why? Because confession to me isn’t a substitute for restitution with her. If that young man wants to be “good” with me, he needs to be “good” with her. His relationship to me, hinges on his relationship (how he treats) with her. There’s no way around it for me.
That’s what Jesus thought about our relationship to God. It cannot, and must not be separated with our relationship with others. In fact, the one hinges on the other. So, the next time you know your in the wrong, confess to God, and then go make it right with the person you’ve wronged. Your relationship with God hinges on it.