A couple of weeks ago, we began a new sermon series on a disciples life. We began that series with the subject of being strong and courageous. There are many challenges in everyone’s life. We face difficult life situations. We are constantly bombarded with the struggles this life brings. All of which require, strength and courage for the journey. Many people, encounter difficult situations but end up quitting their walk with the Lord. So we are to be strong in faith, courageous in faith and messengers who are unashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
One area of great challenge is dealing with people. You may have heard the statement, life would be wonderful if it were not for people. And often pastors have said, ministry is the greatest life and would be even greater if it were not for the people. While, we laugh at those statements, there is enough truth in them to realize they hit closer to home than we would like. But life and ministry are all about people. People are why we are in ministry. Jesus said, the greatest of commandments is to love God with all of our heart, soul and strength and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, (Matthew 22:37-40). I’m convinced, the reason Jesus said that is because He knew how challenging it would be to love our neighbor.
But that is exactly what we are to do, because when we love our neighbor as we love ourselves, we display the love Christ has for us. In other words, we exemplify what a true believer is and is to be. But, that love for a neighbor often comes with great sacrifice. I have seen many relationships destroyed due to a lack of love and a lack of willingness to resolve whatever conflict there may be in that relationship. And I am talking about friends or even spouses or brothers and sisters.
So, how are we, as followers of Christ, to heal those relationships? What is our responsibility? If you would like to know what the Bible says, take some time to listen to the message from last Sunday. It is the first part of a couple messages that I am preaching on this subject.
The gist of the series is, we must acknowledge that God is the authority of our lives. And when we do, we are obligated to live the way He tells us to live. We have no choice. So, we learn that we must operate in our relationships under His authority first. Secondly, we are never to act like an unbeliever while going through the challenges in the relationships. Nothing could be further or should be further from the relationship than to act like an unbeliever. Because an unbeliever does not have the ability to follow God or to live like God wants them to live. The Word of God teaches us that the things of the Spirit are spiritually discerned, (1 Corinthians 2:14). Meaning, God must open the heart of the individual. So, to act like an unbeliever in the middle of the difficult situation is totally against the work of God. Thirdly, we are never to allow anger to drive us in the healing process of the relationship. Anger is an emotion that God gave us when we were created. And, anger can be manifested in two ways. One, it can come out from our sinful nature and rail against anyone and everything in ways that are hurtful and damaging to the relationship. Which only makes the situation worse. The other anger is righteous anger, being angry over the things that violate God and His principles for life, against his plan for life. Finally, we are always to speak the truth while doing what we can to heal the relationship. To speak truth does not mean we lay it all out there without considering the feelings of others. The Word of God tells us to speak the truth in love. But too often, believers speak truth without love or they love without speaking the truth, which in truth is an oxymoron. In other words, it is not possible to truly love with Godly love, and not speak the truth.
So, if there is a relationship you are hoping to heal or hoping will heal. I want to encourage you to look to God and His Word. He never said it would be easy, but He did promise He would be with us through the effort and the struggle. He is all about restoration and repair. That is why Jesus came, to repair our broken relationship with our heavenly Father. Jesus is the great Counselor and Healer.
Determine in your heart to follow all God says and He will help you in your situation. Notice, I didn’t say it would be healed fully or totally. That is certainly the hope. In other words, you can only operate on the relationship from your heart. You have no control over the other person. They must want to heal it too. God says, we are to do all we can, as much as is possible from us, to live in peace (Romans 12:18). Meaning, sometimes the peace in a relationship means, you stay on your side of the river and I’ll stay on my side of the river and we will love each other from a distance.
If you are in the area, we would love to have you worship with us. Just check this website for the times of our gatherings.
May the Lord bless you as you pursuit Him and live for Him.