Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Reconciling with others: KVJ versus Book of Mormon, Matt 5:23-24

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.
(Matt 5:23-24)
Book of Mormon
23 Therefore, if ye shall come unto me,
or shall desire to come unto me,
and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee—
 24 Go thy way unto thy brother,
and first be reconciled to thy brother,
and then come unto me with full purpose of heart,
and I will receive you.
(3 Nephi 12:23-24)
In these verses, Jesus describes how we should reconcile with men before offering a gift to God or coming to Christ.  The Book of Mormon offers extra insight as to why.

The first difference we notice between the KJV and BoM is that the KJV is spoken in the context of offering sacrifices before the Law of Moses was fulfilled in Christ.  The gift brought to the altar was the sacrificial animal.  The BoM context is different because it was after the law was fulfilled, so the command is “come unto me,” with a broken heart and contrite spirit, since sacrifices were done away.

I notice that both mention remembering “that thy brother hath aught against thee.”  I suppose this is referring to how things may be brought to our memory that we have done to hurt others, things they may hold against us.  It may be the Spirit reminding us to encourage us to repent, or it may even be Satan reminding us of them in an attempt to make us think we are a hopeless case.  Hopefully we know the difference and persevere in spite of Satan’s demoralizations.  (Some of the lies he tries to use are the they’re-not-going-to-forgive-you argument, the it-was-so-long-ago-it’s-not-important argument, and the you’ll-have-to-admit-you’re-wrong-and-that’s-so-embarrassing argument.)

We also notice that the BoM adds the promised blessing if we reconcile with others before coming to Christ—“I will receive you.”  (Ah, what hope rises in my heart when I read that!)  It seems that not only does the Lord want us to be at peace with Him, He wants us to be at peace with our fellowmen as well, so much so that He requires reconciliation with everyone else first.  And perhaps we can’t come with full purpose of heart to Christ if we have unresolved hard feelings toward others.  I know I have a hard time concentrating on my scriptures if I’m angry.  I have to pray to forgive and pray for peace before I can open my heart to what the Lord wants me to learn.

Have you had an experience like this that you can share?