Let’s read those interesting verses, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (NKJV). In the verses that preceded these (verses 21-22) the Lord Jesus had been speaking about the seriousness of being angry with one’s brother and now He is basically saying that if you have offended your brother it would be useless to worship God by bringing Him a gift. God could NOT accept that gift until the offending brother goes to the brother he has offended in true humility and seeks to be reconciled to him by offering a sincere apology. If reconciliation occurs, then the gift would be offered with a heart free of offense and God would surely be pleased and He would accept it as a true act of worship.

Though the Lord Jesus was speaking to Jewish disciples in this passage, there is a principle here that applies to Christians. We too cannot worship God if we have had a falling out with our brother, whether we are the guilty or innocent party in the offense. In Matthew 18:15 the Lord Jesus gives this instruction to those in the church today: “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” In this case it is the “innocent party” who is exhorted to take the first step towards reconciliation with his brother. He must go to his brother privately and tell him he has been offended and if the brother’s heart is open to hear the matter, he will indeed repent and the two will be reconciled. The Lord also includes instruction if the offending brother doesn’t repent, but the main point we’re making now is that we must not harbor ill feelings against a brother or it will not only affect our fellowship with him, but our fellowship with God.

In 1st Corinthians 11:27 we are told: “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” The apostle Paul is speaking here about worshipping the Lord when we partake of the Lord’s Supper. When we come to that sacred Supper to worship Him, we are “bringing our gift of praise” to Him and Paul is emphasizing that it’s possible to partake of the emblems “in an unworthy manner.” When we think of what we’ve been considering, can we not say that if we sit down to the Lord’s Supper when we have something against our brother we will be guilty of that very thing? Our hearts aren’t right before the Lord and thus our “gift of praise” will not be accepted by Him. The solution is found in verse 28: “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” To “examine himself” is to judge one’s heart and if there is sin at work in the heart it must be dealt with. In keeping with our subject, the brother would need to go to his brother and be reconciled and then his heart and conscience would be free to “eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” And God would be free to accept his praise. (228.5) (DO)