How To Spoil Our Relationship With God
Matthew 5:23-24: Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Our unconfessed offenses or unforgiveness against others will mar our relationship God.
Albert Barnes* New Testament Commentary:
The Pharisees were intent only on the external act in worship. They looked not at all to the internal acts of the mind. If a man conformed to the external rites of religion, however much envy, and malice, and secret hatred he might have, they thought he was doing well. Our Saviour taught a different doctrine. It was of more consequence to have the heart right, than to perform the outward act. If therefore, says he, a man has gone so far as to bring his gift to the very altar, and should remember that any one had anything against him, it was his duty there to leave his offering, and go and be reconciled. While a difference of this nature existed, his offering could not be acceptable. He was not to wait till the offended brother should come to him; he was to go and seek him out, and be reconciled. So now, the worship of God will not be acceptable, however well performed externally, until we are at peace with those that we have injured. He that comes to worship his Maker filled with malice, hatred, envy, and at war with his brethren, is a hypocritical worshipper, and must meet with God*s displeasure. God is not deceived; and will not be mocked.
First be reconciled means to settle the difficulty; to make proper acknowledgment, or satisfaction, for the injury. If you have wronged him, make restitution. If you have injured his character, confess it, and seek pardon. If he is under an erroneous impression; if your conduct has been such as to lead him to suspect that you have injured him, make an explanation. Do all in your power, and all you ought to do, to have the matter settled. From this we learn, (1) that in order to worship God acceptably, we must do justice to our fellow-men. (2) Our worship will not be acceptable, unless we do all we can to live peaceably with others. (3) It is our duty to seek reconciliation with others when we have injured them. (4) This should be done before we attempt to worship God. (5) This is often the reason God doesn*t accept our offerings, and we go empty away from our devotions. We do not do what we ought to others; we cherish improper feelings, or refuse to make proper acknowledgments, and God will not accept such attempts to worship him.
Mark 11:25-26: And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
British Family Bible:
Our Saviour implies that when the Christian prays, he must have stedfast faith in the power, wisdom, and goodness of God, and his heart must likewise be full of tenderness, compassion, and forgiveness, towards his fellow-creatures.
The Fourfold Gospel:
Here our Lord emphasizes the need of forgiveness because he had just performed a miracle of judgment, and he wished his disciples to understand that they must not exercise their miraculous gifts with a vengeful, unforgiving spirit. They must suffer evil and not retaliate with miracles of judgment.
Spurgeon Devotional Commentary:
Remember this when anger tries to hold you in its evil power. Flee from it as from your mortal foe.