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Mending the wounds of broken relationships | Worship

 

September 2, 2015



The following is a rerun of a column that ran on July 8, 2009. -Ed.

When it comes to what’s important in life, there is nothing more important that the relationships we have with other people.

Whether it be a co-worker, a neighbor, a friend, a son or daughter, a spouse, etc., the relationships we form in life are very special and something that we should cherish above everything else in life.

However, the sad reality is that sometimes our relationships with people can become damaged. It may be because of a careless word spoken, a misunderstanding, a moment of insensitivity to another person’s feelings, or any number of things, but as much joy as relationships can offer us, they can also be the source of much pain.

The awkwardness that is created when you’re around a person who has offended you, or a person who you may have offended is a little unpleasant, to say the least. Because of that, we usually end up avoiding that person.

We all have a choice when it comes to how we’re going to respond to these types of situations.

We can either choose the attitude that says, “Oh well, they just need to get over it. I don’t need them anyway,” and just go on with the pain of a broken relationship that resides in our hearts even though we don’t want to admit that the pain is there.

Or we can be honest with ourselves and realize that even though I might be mad at that person, they really do matter to me, I value our relationship and I’m going to go out of my way to do what I can to make things right.

It may take a little humility on our part, but I think the latter choice is the best one.

Jesus Christ, who I think of as the ultimate “people person,” valued relationships so much that He said that if you are offering your gift to God at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift at the altar and go be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift to God.

That’s a pretty powerful statement when it comes to the priority of relationships in our lives. God doesn’t even want our offering until we go and make things right with that person. I bet you won’t hear that taught in most churches!

If we’re honest with ourselves, the thing that usually keeps us from doing whatever we can to heal a damaged relationship is pride. Pride has a way of rearing its ugly head and robs us of the joy of a restored relationship.

We think to ourselves, “They’re the one who is at fault, so if they want my friendship back, then they need to come to me.”

That’s pride. We may also say, “I don’t care what they say or what they do, I can’t forgive them for what they did or said to me.”

That’s pride, and it’s not that we can’t forgive them; it’s that we won’t forgive them. There’s a big difference. We always have the choice.

If a person has offended us and they have admitted that they were wrong and apologized, then we should always forgive them. If we happen to be the one who has offended them, then we should go to them and ask them to forgive us.

It takes a little humility to do that, but it’s always worth it in the end. I wonder how many families, marriages or friendships have suffered unnecessary pain simply because no one was willing to humble themselves and admit that they were wrong? I bet the number is staggering and the fall out great.

As a pastor, I see the pain that damaged relationships can cause people probably more than the average person, and it’s never an easy thing to deal with, and it’s always heartbreaking to see.

Pretty much in every case, if the people involved would simply humble themselves and admit that they were wrong, or be willing to forgive the other person who has wronged them, the relationship could be restored.

I’d like to leave us all with this challenge: If there is a relationship in our lives that has been damaged, go to that person and do whatever we can to make things right, because holding on to bitterness simply isn’t worth it.

If you have a broken relationship and are willing to take the words I’ve written to heart, even if you haven’t talked to the person for years, then may God give you the strength and courage that you need to do whatever you need to do to heal the relationship, and may He soften both of your hearts so that your relationship can be restored.

 

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