So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
One of many moments that deeply impacted me while I was in the Dominican Republic happened outside a classroom as Tom Traylor and I were painting. A young boy came out of a classroom with tears streaming down his face. His expression said he was more angry than sad. He assumed a familiar position facing the outdoor wall of his class, riveted to the spot. I wasn't sure what he'd gotten in trouble for, but after years of teaching, I know the drill, in any language. What happened next was new and unfamiliar.
After several minutes, a boy and a girl from his class came out, each laying a hand on his shoulders and whispering gently to him. In Spanish, they whispered, "bien," over and over. Bueno means good, but bien means well or okay. They consoled him. They didn't excuse what he'd done, whatever that was. But they assured him it was okay now, and arm in arm, the three entered the classroom and returned to their seats.
What struck me was how natural this reconciliation and return was. It was as natural as the position he'd assumed facing the wall. How many of us assume the position in desperation or hope? How many of us need to feel the hands on our shoulders? And perhaps most importantly, who is standing outside right now in need of our gentle hands and assurance it's okay now? This week, consider who in your life, in the world, or in the news is standing outside and needs your gentle hands and assuring words. Let's come back in together.