Every now and then I read something that moves me and I feel the need to share it, which I do so often on facebook and twitter.
Today, this particular devotional reminded me of a conversation I had with my husband only a few days ago. The deep deep hurt, which continues to haunt me, and effects me so painfully from time to time that I fall into an emotional chasm of distrust, disbelief (in people) and self hatred. At those times I will, almost aggressively, reject any sentiments of love toward me.
Without chewing over old ground I will simply say I had one of those moments a few days ago when I asked Keith how could people who go to church, who worship God, who quote scripture, run groups then advise people to go against what is written in the bible! That they will judge a person for getting a divorce yet they advise people to divorce themselves from those with whom they are having difficulties.
How can you live one way, yet preach another? How can you teach one thing and practise another? How can you hurt a “brother or sister” and justify it? It is a cop out.
Our God is a God of relationship! Our God is a God of love. Our God is a God of restoration and reconciliation. How can people ignore dismiss those truths when dealing with others? Especially those who are mentoring..discipling…teaching…leading? To practise what one preaches is essential, if extremely hard!
So here is the devotional I read this morning before attending church….highlights are mine.
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 17, 2017
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24
First, go back and make things right relationally. Go back before you move on, or you will drive a relational wedge. The flesh wants to forget without addressing the real issues that divide, but this is not the Jesus way.
Christ commands us to humble ourselves and go back to seek reconciliation in fractured relationships. Disappointment with your parents may have severed communication, or a child may need your mature and forgiving love. You may have harbored resentment toward a friend over feeling left out. A work associate may have distanced himself because of a misunderstanding. It’s hard to serve heaven while in the midst of broken relationships on earth.
In fact, your worship reminds you of where you need to restore relationships. You are not to move on in your generosity and service to God until you first go back to the point of offense and make amends. It is not a good thing to offer a gift to God while there are still grudges churning in your gut. An unclear conscience is unable to authentically associate with the Almighty and others. When you go back to the point of offense, you better understand the reason for the hurt; here is where healing begins.
Spend your time and energy in relational wholeness, then you can move on. But when you go back, make sure you are prayed up. A gentle and humble attitude goes a long way toward avoiding an altercation. Take more than your share of the responsibility by apologizing and making restitution (compensation for loss), as it enhances reconciliation in relationships. Use the right words in the right way, as wrong words said the wrong way wreck relationships.
Right words, delivered without pride, can bring healing and wholeness to the ruptured relationship. You can’t move on until you go back to the point of relational departure. It is here that deposits of gentleness, humility, and unselfishness move the relationship in the right direction. It is important that you fight for oneness because your natural self defaults to division.
His mission on earth was to reconcile man to God. His goal was to dissolve the distance between His holy heavenly Father and sinful man. This was the purpose of His death on the cross: reconciling relationships. Moreover, your ministry from God is reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-19). How can you be reconciled to God in heaven and not to people on earth? God’s expectation for His children is to come clean with those between whom there is division. This is the normal Christian life and is consistent living for the Lord.
However, you cannot accomplish this countercultural commission by yourselves. The power of the Holy Spirit humbles your heart and heals, so first go and hunt for relational healing. Forgiveness forgets and moves on only after reconciliation.Move on after you mend the relationship, as wholeness in your relationships validates your life and ministry.
The Bible says, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother”(1 John 4:20-21).
Heavenly Father, give me the courage to go back and ask forgiveness, so I can move forward by faith, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Who have I offended that needs my apology and restitution?
- Posted in: My journey