“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24.
Some time ago I attended a Women of Faith conference in Ft. Lauderdale. As always, I had a great time with the ladies of the church, leaving spiritually refreshed and blessed.
One of the speakers on Friday talked about taking advantage of opportunities as they arise. God used this advice to do something I had not anticipated.
I bought a book in which Luci Swindoll was one of the contributors, so I went to the book signing early Saturday morning. When I arrived there was only one other person in the line in front of me, so I quickly got to the table where Luci signed the books. I felt a little uncomfortable and embarrassed, because I had a nagging push to bring up a topic that had been bugging me for several years. When she finished signing, there was NO ONE in line. So I thought, “Okay, God, You obviously want me to talk to her about this.”
“Oh,” she replied.
So I explained that a year earlier (actually I think it was at least several years earlier) I had seen her talking to someone at a table on the concourse. I waited until the lady left and then came up, told her that I was a DTS (Dallas Theological Seminary) grad, and that I had mentioned to her brother Chuck Swindoll (who was either President or Chancellor of DTS at that time) that she had been telling stories about him at Women of Faith. He said “I bet you she didn’t tell you about the time she taught me to smoke!” No, she hadn’t, so when I saw her I wanted to tell her about it.
When I left the table I continued down the concourse and noticed that just beyond the table was a long line of ladies holding books. I realized in horror that I had just butted in line in front of all those waiting ladies. I felt mortified – after all, I was a DTS grad, and that was so impolite, even if I didn’t realize there was a line at the time. I had been bothered by this incident ever since, so I wanted to apologize.
Luci said she didn’t remember the incident but accepted my apology anyway. And just then more people arrived in line, so I excused myself and left.
What amazed me was how I felt afterward — It was like a heavy burden had been lifted off my shoulders. God had arranged the timing and opportunity. I felt such joy and blessing. This opportunity would have been missed if I had not obeyed God’s nudge (however reluctantly).
Does someone hold something against you? Do you need to apologize? Even unintentional mistakes can cause misunderstandings that will only fester if you don’t settle the matter. Don’t put it off – it only gets harder as time wears on.
[LUCI – If you ever read this, you have my permission to use it.]