Settle matters quickly with your adversary. Matthew 5:25
The unresolved hurt between Simon and Geoffrey had persisted for years, and Simon’s attempts to reenter the relationship had been resisted. Upon hearing the news of the death of Geoffrey’s mother, Simon traveled “up country” in Kenya to attend her funeral service. Simon reflected on their encounter: “I had no expectations at all in terms of how the whole thing would turn out, [but] after the service, we opened up and had a fruitful talk. We hugged, shared the moment, prayed together, and planned to meet again.” If only Simon and Geoffrey had been able to reconcile earlier, so much ongoing pain could have been avoided.
The words of Jesus in Matthew 5:21–26 help to put unresolved relational tensions in perspective. The anger that can lead to such rifts is a serious matter (v. 22). Furthermore, getting things in order relationally is a fitting prelude to worshiping God (vv. 23–24). The wise words of Jesus to “settle matters quickly with your adversary” (v. 25) remind us that the sooner we do what we can to work toward reconciliation the better for all.
Relationships are risky; they demand work—in our families, in the workplace, in educational settings, and among people who share our faith in Christ. But as those who represent Him, the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), may we find ourselves going out of our way to extend our hearts and hands to those with whom we have unresolved conflict.
By Arthur Jackson
Who comes to mind when you think of someone you need to reach out to so that relational healing might begin? What’s keeping you from doing so?
Father, You know where the relational fissures are in my life. Forgive me for my slowness to attempt resolution. Give me the strength to take the next steps.
The Greek word translated “quickly” in Matthew 5:25 (“settle matters quickly”) is takh-oo. This adverb means “speedily,” “shortly,” “with haste,” “without delay.” The noun form is included in the root of the word tachometer, an instrument that measures speed. Jesus commanded His disciples to make things right with others as soon as possible. He wasn’t alone in teaching this principle. Paul wrote, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:26–27). Similarly, the author of Hebrews wrote, “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone . . . . See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:14–15).