Someone recently told me that we as believers must always strive for peace among one another because at some point, we will all inhabit heaven together. Yikes. I most certainly don’t want any baggage from down here to follow me to up there because well, I hear it’s a great place and I want to be able to enjoy it to the fullest.
Recently, one of my Facebook friends made the comment that it “takes one to forgive and two to reconcile.”
Profound and true.
The thing is, you get to decide if you are going to forgive (and yes, we are supposed to forgive 7 x 70 times which comes to 490 for those of us who don’t do math and yes, this is often quite difficult but necessary) but you have no control over whether or not there will be reconciliation because that’s the part that takes both parties involved to be willing to work through a conflict in a healthy way.
Reconciliation can look very different to different people but the bottom line is, it’s far easier to live in reconciliation than allow a root of bitterness to grow instead.
God has walked me through a year of difficult relational conflicts, conflicts I have handled in a way that glorifies Him and some in a way that didn’t at all.
The pruning that has occurred has been raw. Absolutely painful. At times more than I thought I could bear. It’s been the worst year I’ve had since my divorce and the death of my father back in 2001. And yes, there were most definitely moments that I shook my fist at the sky and asked “WHY? WHY? WHY? When is it all just going to stop?”
But then I look back to where I stood just one year ago and now I see why, why, why.
The woman who stands here now isn’t scared of conflict anymore though admittedly, she still doesn’t like them. She understands that God created us to be relational beings and anyone in any kind of relationship with other people (i.e. everyone) will experience at least one painful and perhaps even devastating conflict at least one time in their lifetime.
The woman who stands here now understands that we must forgive and choose to either continue a relationship with that person if the conflict was walked through in a healthy way or we must draw a boundary around those that weren’t and accept that sometimes God calls us out of relationships as easily as He calls us to them.
For the people pleaser beast that resides in me, that’s just tough. I want everyone to like me. And yet again, as my precious Meemo always tells me, “Not everyone IS going to like you.”
No truer words were ever spoken.
And yet if I continue to keep my eyes on Him, if I seek Him always, if I understand that my honor comes from Him and no one else, if I have truly focused on Him, then it really doesn’t matter what someone else thinks.
But what if I do take my eyes off of Him as I invariably will since I’m bound by the flesh?
Seek. Confess. Ask Him to forgive you. Learn.
I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the events of this past year but I do think that I might be called to write a bit (perhaps a series) on relational issues…Still praying through…
I wait quietly before God,
for my victory comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will never be shaken.
So many enemies against one man—
all of them trying to kill me.
To them I’m just a broken-down wall
or a tottering fence.
They plan to topple me from my high position.
They delight in telling lies about me.
They praise me to my face
but curse me in their hearts.
Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.