As promised, I am continuing on the love theme. Love is all about keeping relationships together. Anytime you have two people get together, whether it is a man and a woman in a marriage or just a friend to a friend, you will eventually have conflict. Love tells us to mend fences and build relationships. In Matthew 5, Jesus says, "If you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, go your way, first be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift." As I stated last week, the road back to the promised land of blessing is on the highway of mended relationships.
Jesus further states in Matthew 18:15: "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother." So we see that Jesus always puts the burden of mending relationship on us, whether we did something to offend or whether they did really doesn't matter. Someone has to go first. Let it be you.
Somehow we always think it is the other person's responsibility to initiate contact. In the above verse it tells us that we have the responsibility as soon as we realize that our "brother" has something against us. We could say, "Well, that's his problem. If he has something against me, then he can say something about it. I'm not the one in the wrong." But it's really not about who was at fault, it is about who now is going to take responsibility to mend a relationship. And according to Jesus' words, even our prayer sacrifice to the Lord should not come before we do our part in making things right between ourselves.
People are not a mess because the weather is too cold or because they are barely getting by financially, they are primarily a mess because of broken relationships. The Bible tells us that peacemakers shall be called the people of God. First John 4:20 says, "He who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?" You see, our relationship with God Himself is mirrored in our relationship with each other. We can't say we love God and hate our brother.
True love always initiates. True love never just lets a broken relationship go without taking responsibility to mending that relationship. First John 3:16 says, "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us, and we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."
I'm not saying it will be easy. You can expect a little tension. It may be a little scary. I believe there is also a spiritual battle going on. Satan does not want people to get along. He fights against peace and harmony in relationships. That's why we need to ask God to help us before we go headlong into this. Be honest before God about your feelings. Ask Him to make His will your will, His mind your mind, His love your love. Ask Him to give you the right attitude and to know when to speak and when not to speak. Ask Him for a humble spirit, insight and wisdom. Don't go into it with an accusatory finger, making sure the other person knows how big of a jerk they are. Forgive.
The relationship may never be what it was; it may take time, but be willing to invest that time. God is in the business of reconciliation. We ought to join God in that ministry.