They had no intentions of getting along; they merely stomached each other.
Within a few months of becoming their pastor, I knew I had inherited a long standing conflict. Not one that would ever come to blows but one that would persistently be a thorn in the church’s side. The first call came from June.* She was perturbed at Jessica* over what appeared an insignificant issue. I listened patiently and contacted Jessica. Her side of the story was different. From her perspective, it was June’s fault. I offered to mediate. They weren’t interested. Because both had strong personalities, neither was willing to compromise. And the cold air continued to blow until one of them finally told the church goodbye.
Getting along with others is sometimes challenging, and helping others work pleasantly with each other can be an even more exerting undertaking. Yet, it’s a crucial assignment in a world full of hurts. And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. (II Corinthians 5:18 NLT)
If I’m to restore broken relationships, I must first believe they’re important and worth restoring. And they are. God created humans to interact, work together, and enjoy each other.
When I’m personally involved in a conflict, I should take the initiative to restore it. Jesus said if someone has something against me, I should reach out and seek reconciliation (Matthew 5:23-24). The rift may or may not be my fault, but most stories have two sides. And usually there’s a little fault with all parties.
Of utmost importance is forgiveness. I must immediately forgive and move on whether restoration occurs or not. Otherwise I will permit that person to live rent free in my head forever.
What can you do to heal broken relationships you’re aware of?
Prayer: God in heaven, even as You took the initiative to restore our broken relationship with You, so motivate us to do the same with others.
*Names changed to protect individual’s privacy.
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