2005-10-13 - Respect and Apologies
Luke 6:31 "And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way. (NASB)
I think we all learned this one in kindergarten, or before. The truth contained in this simple, straightforward phrase becomes no less true as the years progress. It resonates in the hearts and minds of anyone who has ever been even slightly mistreated. This verse is joy and celebration to anyone who has resolved a problem with another and had their respect restored. The concept is one that makes the word go around in order. It is a mirror of the second most important of the commandments:
Matt 22:39 "The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' (NASB)
Young children can be self-centered. As parents, we spend a great deal of time watching over them in every aspect of their day. It is not hard for them to imagine that the world does revolve around them. When they go too far and refuse to share a toy with a friend, or hit another child, we step in an make them apologize. The first incident does not always go well. The apology is either extracted under the threat of punishment, or is given grudgingly without the heart behind it. The second occurrence often goes a little better, and so on until the reasons behind it begin to sink in. But it is not always completely understood until the apology needs to be given to that child the first time.
We are not so far from those children in some ways. When we are the offended party, whether the offense was real or imagined, the reaction to a heart-felt apology is gratitude for the relationship restored. The importance of the fact that the other person in our lives cared enough to come and make sure things are made right between you two can not be understated. To have your person, your work, your time, or someone special to you treated badly is offensive. If there is an offense between you and another person, God would rather you seek out that person and make right what is wrong between you so that your heart and conscience are clear when you are before Him. That problem or offense affects the relationship between ourselves and the Lord.
Matt 5:22-24 "If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering . (NASB)
Just as the first few commandments deal with our relationship with God, and the last few deal with our relationship with other men and women, this is part of the balance in life that is so needed. This is not just a two-way balance, it is a three-way balance.
Grace & Peace,