Monday, May 22nd
Devotional written by Josh Green, Worship Leader
OBSTACLES TO WORSHIP: UNRESOLVED RELATIONAL PROBLEMS
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
I remember the first church camp where I led worship. I was having the time of my life faithfully serving and using my talents for the Lord. But one night, I got into a random argument with one of the high schoolers in the band, which escalated to the point where I removed him from the worship team. I don’t even remember what we were arguing about, but I remember this knot in my stomach every time I thought about it. On the last night of camp, he walked into the room, and I intentionally avoided him as I went up to lead worship. Halfway through the set, I nodded at my best friend to continue with the song and lead. I couldn’t sing; I couldn’t lift my hands. I couldn’t worship God at that moment, and it didn’t end at camp. It affected the Wednesday youth group services and friend hangouts after camp. I found myself trying to justify my hurt feelings by talking to our mutual friends, which led to oversharing past details – aka gossip – and it tore our group apart. I was struggling to worship and responded with gossip instead of resolution. I struggled to worship for months and probably caused others to struggle until he and I could resolve our issue.
Jesus offers a life-changing direction here: you cannot worship Christ while harboring an offense with others. Confrontation and conflict resolution are HARD. You can grow and get used to it, but it’s never enjoyable. Conflict and disagreement are a part of life in a fallen world. The church is full of fallen, flawed people like me. It will affect your ability to worship God if you have unresolved anger, frustration, conflict, or poorly spoken words toward someone else. I’m not saying it’s fair, but it’s reality. As someone who has often disappointed people and let them down, I can testify there is a clear difference in how you worship when you have unresolved relational issues versus attempting reconciliation.
REFLECTION: Does anyone come to mind when reading the key verse? Have you found yourself gossiping about anyone (James 3:9-10)? If so, pray and seek reconciliation. Then, you can experience joy in “offering your gift [to the Lord].”
SONG RECOMMENDATIONS: Bind Us Together (traditional), Make us One (Jesus Culture)