This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you. For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. (Leviticus 16:29-30)
It needs to be noted that the service performed on Yom Kippur addressed the issue of man’s transgressions against God. However, it did not necessarily address the issue of a person’s sins against his fellow man. Consequently it was understood, then and now, that before one could expect forgiveness from God for our sins against Him, we must be willing to resolve our differences with others, whenever possible. Messiah addressed the issue in this manner:
Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. (Matthew 5:23-25)
It is at least implied that God is the judge and will eventually have to render a decision should there be an unresolved issue between parties, meaning that the guilty one has the responsibility to make peace. Therefore we should not think that we can approach God to be absolved of our sins against Him if we have not sought to make things right with our brother. Messiah also said, “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15).
Clearly, we have incentive, if not a mandate, to make peace with our brothers if at all possible. Unfortunately that is not always possible, but when it is, we must do all that is within our power to reconcile with our fellow man and forgive them of whatever wrong they have committed against us. In the end, this is as much for us as it is for them and, most importantly, our Father in heaven is watching. So as we go to Him seeking His face for mercy and guidance, let us pray that He will quicken us to recall those relationships that need attention and mending.
Blessings and Shalom,