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Matthew 5:21–26 (NIV)
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

We have all heard that we are to settle matters of this kind quickly ("do not let the sun go down...") but what happens when you sin by letting these things go, is it OK to rebuke and/or reconcile months and years later?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Nathaniel, curiousdannii, Mr. Bultitude, David Oct 8 '15 at 3:06

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Welcome to the site! I'd invite you to read the FAQ, as well as these posts:… and… Your question seems to be one about answering Truth, which isn't really what the site is about.If you could edit this to ask from a certain denominational teaching or tradition, that would bring it more in line with site guidelines. – David Nov 6 '12 at 0:39
@DavidStratton when I read you guidelines it seemed that it is completely in violation so I'm going to wait until I see this comment and then either delete this question or let you close it and I'm sorry for waiting so long to respond. I was waiting for more answers. Which was not OK as I knew I was breaking the rules, please forgive me. – Christopher Nov 10 '12 at 6:31
No need to apologize! This was your first post, wasn't it? It took me over a year to finally understand the guidelines! (in my defense, the community was still figuring the guidelines out...) – David Nov 10 '12 at 15:32
OK, thank you – Christopher Nov 12 '12 at 1:36

The best practice is to settle things as soon as possible, as Jesus teaches in the passage you cited. However, if we should fail to do that, then certainly the next best thing is to reconcile once we recognize our obligation to do so or once we have moved towards forgiveness in our own hearts.

It is always a good idea to forgive, to reconcile, and to bless. So, it's best to do that immediately, but it's always right to do it--no matter how long the delay has been.

The Proverbs teach us not to withhold good to those who deserve it, and the time frame is not restricted to the earliest moment, but simply to "when it is in your power to act".

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Proverbs 3:27 ESV

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+1'd. Great scriptural support. – El'endia Starman Nov 5 '12 at 20:04

Verse 23 of Matthew 5 that you quoted gives a fairly strong hint that reconciliation is urgent even after a significant delay both by the fact that going to the altar was not a daily activity and by the fact that it speaks of remembering indicating that the offense was at least somewhat distant in thought/memory (and likely in time).

(Obviously a delayed reconciliation or rebuke tends to be more difficult. Since a delayed rebuke is actually an offense against the target of the rebuke, asking for forgiveness before or while rebuking could be appropriate.)

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