Agree with your adversary quickly… Matthew 5:25
Notice Jesus doesn’t say, “Make your adversary agree with you” or “Try to work things out”. He simply tells us to do something oppositional. Agree and adversary. They don’t belong together. Oh, and make it fast.
I’ve read a few different commentaries on this, but if you read the previous text, He actually tells you not to even bother Him if you have grudges on the grill. “Get up from the altar and GO!” (my translation). He says you can leave your offering because He is expecting you will return…this time with a right heart.
The If/ then upside down commands of Jesus are often skipped over, or held up like a Rubik’s Cube. Maybe it goes this way…no. Maybe like this? No…
Just a few from Jesus, (words in RED!)
Love your enemies.
Pray for those who persecute you.
Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled; everyone who humbles himself will be exalted.
Whoever clings to their life will lose it, but whoever lets go of their life for me will find it.
So the last shall be first and the first last.
And, oh yeah, he gets to be a servant of ALL.
Straightforward enough, but you begin to get a clear picture as to why so many left Jesus during his earthly ministry. Because, if we are honest, these things are hard. It’s easy to quote it to someone else, but how about me when I am hurt, offended, betrayed. Don’t I have a right?
And this is the heart and soul of all that following Christ means. Every If/ Then, every impossible command brings us to the cross, crying “I give up!” Falling to our knees, we lay it down there; our right to unforgiveness, to self-righteousness, to self-pity and pride. Dump it all there and leave it. So simple. But so stinking hard for my prideful, selfish SELF.
I don’t find any exceptions to Jesus’ rule. Forgive- always. Everything. Love-always. Everyone. If you find a clause in there let me know. Oswald Chambers said,
“To look for justice is a sign of deflection from devotion to Him. Jesus says- Go on steadily on with what I have told you to do and I will guard your life.” God warned Cain in Genesis, “Sin lies at the door. And it’s desire is for you.” Obedience keeps the door closed.
In my own life I am so glad that Jesus said these things. It has saved me from a slow bitter death that would have likely taken out my marriage, my children and others that I love. I would rather have the provision, covering, and grace of a loving and sovereign God that I don’t always understand, than a bucket of my rights and demands. But this I know; you can’t have both.
When my boys were little and they would fight, I made a practice of staying out of playing Judge Judy. It seemed fruitless and way too time consuming. So I’d just make them say sorry and make up. After a few sniffles and some minor pouting, they did and within minutes I would hear their play resume and laughter would fill the house. It was forgiven and a fading memory.
Let’s take another piece of wisdom from the words in RED and be more like little children. I have seen too many people that I love let offences and circumstances take them out and adrift from the will of God. Agree with your adversary quickly, then go to Jesus with a pure and joyful heart. He is waiting for you.