My husband works in the construction industry. He is often called to homes where the passing of time and weather have caused damage to the woodwork. “Can you repair the rotten wood?” homeowners will ask.
Truth is, rotten wood cannot be repaired. It is too damaged. Discolored. Soft. It no longer serves it’s purpose and if not addressed fairly quickly, can allow damage to be done to what is behind it.
Relationships can be like this. They can become worn down and stressed if not maintained properly. Sometimes they are broken. Outwardly they are hanging only by a thread. Any rain or wind passing through can cause stress and strain. Cracks in the exterior can lead to infestations of bad or wrong attitudes.
We’ve all been there.
We’ve all been hurt by someone.
We’ve all hurt someone else.
Even if unintentional.
Even if we refuse to recognize it.
“…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.”
Matthew 5:23-24 NIV
Leaving an offering for God is a form of worship. It sounds like to me that the Lord doesn’t want our worship until we have reconciled with those we’ve offended. That’s pretty important, would you agree?
Are you already thinking of someone who holds a grudge against you? Someone who has an issue with you? This isn’t about who is right and who is wrong.
**RECONCILIATION-[rek-uh n-sil-ee-ey-shuh n]–reconciling,
We should pray…first for ourselves, then for our offender. Asking the Lord to remove our pride and to replace it with humility. Asking him to help us to see the other person through his eyes.
We need to pull out our tool boxes and take out what’s needed for repairs. Kindness, goodness, and a smile are a great starting point. Self-control and the mindset of being “quick to listen and slow to speak”…yeah…let’s take that one out too. It will come in handy. Let’s leave our defensiveness in the box, we won’t be needing that. Our desire to be “right”, let’s leave that in there too.
We must take the first step. Reach out. NO TEXTING!! Call them up. Hand write a well thought out, well prayed over letter. Schedule a Starbuck’s date. Buy their coffee.
When we’ve messed things up with God, he doesn’t turn his back on us. He reaches out. Reconciliation can be used to draw us closer to God, but to also open a window for the other person to see him more clearly. It’s not just about us…it’s about HIM.
Sometimes an “I’m really, really sorry” is just what the doctor ordered. Sometimes it’s not. Peeling back those layers will expose some things that might stink and look pretty nasty. There may be pain involved in removing the rot. In removing the hurt. But once the heart of the problem is addressed, the Son is able to shine on the issue. On the hearts of those involved. The Son is warm, it refreshes, pulls out the stink. Has healing powers.
I’m speaking to myself here. To be honest, I’ve done this whole thing wrong over the years more times than I’d like to admit. But, I am without excuse. And I know from experience, that doing it right, God’s way, brings much more peace than doing it my way. I just sleep better. This is part of the freedom we have when we walk in faith.
Let’s step out of our fears and take the first step. Swallow our pride and seek restoration in our relationships. Agree to disagree if we must, but bring harmony back where it needs to be. Where there is amiability, God has more freedom to work in our hearts as well as our offenders’.
” Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.”
Matthew 5:9 NIV
This is a hard thing.
He will give us strength.
Thank him for that along the way.