Pic.: Shankar R
As I approach the threshold of New Year, I, get this feeling, that I am approaching God’s altar holding an offering in my hand. And, all of a sudden, the words of Jesus Christ come back to challenge me… Yes, all afresh:
“If you are presenting your offering at the altar, and, there, remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering…”
Do I have a ‘brother’ who has something against me?
Do I have a ‘brother’ against whom I have something?
It has been a mystery to me as to why Jesus asked me to go back and make peace with a brother who has something against me. Why didn’t He say, “If you have a brother against whom you have something”?
I think it is relatively easier to go back to that brother against whom I hold a grudge. All that I need to do to go back is: realize what I am holding… have a true intention to make peace with my brother… and go back to him with a clean heart and offer the olive branch… Whether my brother will accept it or not, I cannot say. But, I did my best… and I did the right thing… There is no poison in my heart… I hold no more grudge… No more animosity.
But, think of what Jesus had said: “If you have a brother who has something against you…”
Now, to me, this is a tough proposition. Here, I have nothing against my brother… He has. So, is it not for my brother to make the first move… to come to me with an olive branch?”
However mysterious – even crazy – Jesus’ advice sounds, if we meditate on it, we would realize how important it is, that our desire to make peace with our brothers who have something against us is far more significant than our desire to make peace with our brothers against whom we have something…
Today, as I stand near the New-year door, Jesus’ words make me humbler… I do have a brother or two against whom I hold something. And, I do have a brother or four who have something against me… And, here I stand, at the new threshold, offering the olive branch… It is not important, whether it will be accepted or not… But, it is important that I did it… and come cleaner and lighter…
In life, great friends do fall apart… great couples, great neighbors, great business or play partners… Call it egoes or insecurities… Call it misunderstanding or misguidance… Call it intentional or unintentional… but, call it ‘life’ or ‘living, anyway. Yes, we do fall apart in life, at times… But, then, do we hold grudges against one another?
Jesus was more concerned about this – we holding grudges against one another!
I am fortunate, that I hold no grudges against any of my brothers…. Yes, even though it is difficult for me to talk to them, be with them, the way it used to be once…
But, do I hold a grudge?
Simon and Garfunkel have been my favorites right since I was a college kid. As a team, they rocked the music world. When they split, they fell from their music pedestal. Same thing happened to ABBA and BoneyM, The Beatles and The Eagles… Here, to our own Salim-Javed and the rest, too.
We may not be able to mend some relationships in our lives. But, mending them inside our hearts and minds – and setting ourselves free from the poisonous prison they enslave us into – is more important… We may not to be able to look into each others’ eyes for the rest of our lives…but, if our eyes can bear compassion and remorse, I think, that’s enough…
Enough to go back to and offer our offering at God’s altar…
Enough to walk through the New-year door…
Wishing you all a peaceful and prosperous New Year.