Acts of devotion

First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5: 24)

Jesus said to his disciples: “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.” (Matthew 5: 20-26)

Pious acts of devotion to God, so dear to the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus' time, must not fool us into thinking that we have paid our debts to Him. If our faith is true, we will realise just how much God has done for us and, in gratitude for this, we will also find it easier to be more loving to our neighbour.