One of my favorite movies is “The Matrix”. I’m one of the rare few that enjoyed each installment. In the original, Keanu Reeve’s character, Neo, is coming to grips with living life in the real world after having spent his entire life hooked up to the machine-generated dream world of the matrix. His mentor, Morpheus, tells him this: “There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” Eventually, Neo learns how to walk the path of being “The One.”
I want to start a new feature here on “The Road Less Traveled” called Walking the Road. Each Monday, I hope to include a link to another resource or blog I’ve found that has some practical steps toward walking the road less traveled–the road of being follower of Jesus, a change agent for the kingdom. So here’s the first installment of Walking the Road, and it comes from the Desiring God blog (click on the title below to go to the original blog):
Jesus sets those who need to confess and those who need to forgive in competition.
His charge to confessors:
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 5:23-24)
His charge to forgivers:
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. (Mark 11:25)
Notice in his charge to forgivers that Jesus doesn’t say, “forgive, if you have anything against anyone and they have asked for forgiveness.” No, the person who is wronged is commanded to forgive his offender regardless of whether he asks for it or not.
Likewise, we don’t see in Jesus’ words to confessors any freedom for them to assume they have already been forgiven and can just forget about confessing.
In both instances, whether offender or offended, Jesus calls us to outdo the other in showing love. We aren’t given any room to justify a broken relationship by somehow shifting the responsibility onto the other person. Jesus has made doubly sure that forgiveness and reconciliation happen by making both parties equally responsible to pursue it.
What a remarkable atmosphere our God has designed for peace and unity among his followers! He truly is a God who loves mercy.
So what do you think? Is the author onto something that we’ve missed? How can we walk the road of Christ-centered forgiveness and reconciliation?