In the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior taught an important principle: Our relationship with God is heavily influenced by our relationships with other people:
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift (Matthew 5:23-24).
Bringing a gift to the altar was something His audience could relate to. It represented their efforts to draw close to God. When Jesus visited the American continent, this practice was apparently not part of their religious tradition, so He taught the same principle using different words:
Therefore, if ye shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee—
Go thy way unto thy brother, and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will receive you (3 Nephi 12:23-24).
There is a sense of urgency in this counsel: Don’t delay. Leave your gift at the altar. Be reconciled first, then come back. Fix the relationship now, before it gets worse.
A friend of mine pointed out recently that the Savior didn’t say, “Be reconciled to thine enemy.” He said, “Be reconciled to thy brother.” Rifts which harm us spiritually are far more likely to occur with those we are closest to: our siblings, our parents, our spouse, our children. We need to watch for those rifts and heal them quickly.
If we have caused the rift, we obviously have a responsibility to approach the other person and ask forgiveness. But what if they harmed us? President Spencer W. Kimball taught that we should also take the initiative in that situation:
It frequently happens that offenses are committed when the offender is not aware of it. Something he has said or done is misconstrued or misunderstood. The offended one treasures in his heart the offense, adding to it such other things as might give fuel to the fire and justify his conclusions. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the Lord requires that the offended one should make the overtures toward peace.
After quoting the passage above from the Sermon on the Mount, President Kimball continued:
Do we follow that commandment or do we sulk in our bitterness, waiting for our offender to learn of it and to kneel to us in remorse? (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, Chapter 9: Forgiving Others with All Our Hearts).
Today, I will pay attention to the state of my relationships with other people, especially those closest to me. When I sense issues in those relationships, I will take steps to heal the wounds and reconcile the relationship. I will take the initiative regardless of whether I offended them or they offended me. I will remember that my relationship with God is strongly affected by my relationship with others, particularly with the people closest to me.