Welcome to our Partner Letters Archive . . .

To bottom of page

Dear Partner,

Mat 5:21-24   Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: (22) But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. (23) Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; (24) Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

I have often wondered exactly what the Lord meant when He said if "thy brother hath ought against thee." The Greek word translated "ought" simply means a "thing." So, you could say in English, if they brother has "any thing" against thee.

One day while reading through Matthew again while praying softly in the Spirit, I suddenly saw this truth played out like a little movie in my mind. In the movie it was Jesus who was bringing a gift to the altar. We know that Jesus never sinned. He never wronged anybody, not one single person. But there were many people who "ought" against Jesus. The Pharisees and the scribes were so angry with Jesus for His doctrine and for His often doing healings on the Sabbath that they wanted to kill him. Hundreds of people were angry with Jesus, yet there is no doubt that the Father would have received any gift from Him at any time, even though people had "ought" against Him.

So this "ought" Jesus speaks of would only apply to things we had done unjustly, intentionally or accidentally, to hurt or offend other people. If we genuinely did something wrong, even if we did it unintentionally, we are to go and make it right with our brother first … before we offer any gift to God.

But on the other hand, Jesus would have been completely out of order to go and apologize to the Pharisees and the scribes for the doctrine He was preaching and for the healings He was doing. He was preaching and demonstrating the truth. If they became offended at the truth … that was their problem, not His.

Mat 5:21-24 does not mean that "everybody will like you and have gushy feelings toward you" before you offer your gifts to God. On the contrary, later on in the gospel of Matthew Jesus warns his disciples plainly that many people will be offended because of their witness to the truth.

Mat 10:17   But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;

Mat 10:22   And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Mat 10:24-25   The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. (25) It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

Mat 10:34-36   Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. (35) For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. (36) And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.

In Luke's account, Jesus made this statement:

Luk 6:26   Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

As true witnesses of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are going to suffer persecution from the world, including the religious world. The bible is adamant on this fact. Paul summed it up for his disciple Timothy when he said;

2Ti 3:12   Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

We are to do our best to make amends if we have caused someone to have ought against us through some genuine misdeed done to them. But we are never to apologize if people are offended simply because we have been speaking and demonstrating the truth of the gospel.

Sue and I love you and appreciate you.   We thank God for your generous and giving heart.   God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter


Back to the Resource page or on to the Next letter » Feb 2012

Email     or     Print

To top of page