In recent months I’ve seen a number of beautiful young people die prematurely and unexpectedly. This has led me to ponder the importance of doing everything possible to see damaged relationships restored. None of us know when the hour will come for us to depart this earth. Sometimes we erroneously think ‘time will heal’ and we do nothing to actively work towards restoration. Sometimes we don’t know what to do so we still do nothing and months roll on into years of estrangement and suppressed heartache – even a sense of powerlessness.
The Scripture that I feel to share and appropriate in my own life is Romans 12:18 ‘IF POSSIBLE, AS FAR AS DEPENDS ON YOU, LIVE AT PEACE WITH ALL MEN’.
How often are our most precious relationships damaged and fractured by faulty assumptions! The word ‘assume’ means to ‘suppose to be fact – especially without proof’. All of us (to some degree) carry scars of life that affect our perceptions. We jump to wrong conclusions. What was spoken isn’t how it is interpreted. Misunderstandings alienate husbands and wives, sometimes resulting in divorce, bring estrangement between siblings and destruction of deep friendships.
WE HAVE ACCESS FREELY AVAILABLE TO A BETTER WAY FROM GOD’S WORD!
(In the Message Translation) Romans 12, from verse 9 Love from the centre of who you are …don’t fake it …be good friends who love deeply….discover beauty in everybody …
Love deeply enough to PURSUE peace where a misunderstanding has entered in. Love deeply enough to overlook an insult. Love deeply enough to believe the best. Do it sooner rather than later. Family relationships are too precious to allow breakdown through lack of action! Have the courage to make the first move! Romans 14:19 (MSG) says, ‘Lets agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other, to help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault.’ The word ‘pursue’ to me, means take action, make it a priority, let it be of paramount importance to you.
Often, in the face of conflict, it can be difficult to resolve a long standing disagreement. When not faced up to, anger and bitterness and unforgiveness become lodged deeply in a human heart. The original offence bears no resemblance to what we have built it up to be in our imagination. We stubbornly hold onto our ‘right to be right’.
HOW MARVELLOUS THAT GOD HAS A BETTER WAY! A HIGHER WAY! THAT, IF WE OBEY, HE CAN RELEASE ALL POWER OF HEAVEN TO BACK OUR OBEDIENCE TO HIS WORD!
As we ponder on how to approach a matter, LET IT BE UPPERMOST IN OUR MIND, that because of our sincerity of heart, God can overshadow our clumsy efforts to embrace reconciliation as He brings the Presence and power of His precious Holy Spirit into the situation. He looks upon the genuineness of our heart attitude. His whole nature and character is toward healing, wholeness and restoration. He backs His Word. He undertakes on our behalf! How comforting it is to know, that as we choose to do things His way by obeying His Word, He is right there in the midst of our particular issue!
PEACEMAKERS ARE VERY DEAR TO GOD’S HEART!
Matt 5:10 Blessed (enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous – with life joy and satisfaction in God’s favour and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions), are the makers and maintainers of peace …….
When you have a heart to see relationships restored, ask God for His wisdom for a situation. When you have the opportunity, speak words of life, refrain from conversation that will divide and create an even deeper chasm. Refrain from repeating gossip or hearsay. Refrain from assassinating another’s reputation. Rather, tap into the unspeakable joy of allowing God to use you as an instrument of peace to bring comfort to another human heart. Allow Him to use you to encourage, uplift and edify others. Operating from that perspective allows the love and grace that we have so freely received from Jesus Christ to be extended to others.
RECONCILIATION ALWAYS INCLUDES COMMUNICATION.
God gives us His incredibly profound insight in His Word regarding our speech.
Regarding HOW to communicate, He has much to say about it in His Word.
Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.
Proverbs 15:4 A gentle tongue with it’s healing power is a tree of life.
Proverbs 16:24 ‘Pleasant words are as honeycomb, sweet to the mind and healing to the body’.
Gentle, soothing genuine words of love and encouragement can change a human life and bring release from guilt and regret as the power of forgiveness freely flows out to another.
Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue.
I always remember my father saying, ‘think before you speak’. He was drawing upon the wisdom of God. He knew the destructive power of words spoken in anger. Words are never neutral – harsh, angry, negative words belch out over a human life and cause great pain – sometimes for a lifetime. Alternatively, edifying words bring fresh hope and life and encouragement when it is needed most. Proverbs 31:26 (Amp) speaking of the Godly woman says, ‘She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. (My late friend Shirley McCamley was one such woman).
I pray that this message will speak deeply to every heart, (perhaps you might read and reread it) – that God Himself will give you the timing and way to ‘pursue peace’ with those who have become estranged in your life. I pray that you will tangibly experience ‘the peace of God that passes all understanding’ as you step out with courage to obey the command, ‘as far as possible, be at peace with all men’.