CHRISTIANS DON’T JUST HAVE TO FORGIVE: We also have to apologize – I hate confrontation, but my pastor had really hurt my feelings and I thought I should tell him how I felt. I remember screwing up my courage to MAX and going him, saying what I had to say as calmly as I could and asking for an apology.
He crossed his arms, tipped his head back, looked down his nose at me and said, “I don’t have to apologize for anything. You’re a Christian. You just have to forgive me.”
That felt so WRONG, but I couldn’t answer him. So I set out on a Bible study and found a definitive answer, straight from Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.
“Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” – Matt 5:23-24
Sadly, I have never once heard a single teaching or homily on this. I’m thinking maybe people miss the significance of this passage because it says “be reconciled with” instead of “apologize and make amends to.”
It seems to get interpreted as “you have to forgive your brother before you come to the altar.” Now that may be true also, but it’s not what Jesus was saying.
Forgiving is something you do to a person who has harmed you. A person who has something against you is someone you have harmed. That means you need to seek out the person you harmed and apologize and make amends before going to the altar.