Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Restoration and the Goodness that Follows

More daily email goodness. Makes you think.

by John Fischer

Restoring relationships is an important part of having them. As imperfect people, you can count on the fact that we will let each other down. That’s why truthfulness and forgiveness are an essential part of our life together.
It’s a commentary on our fast-paced mobile lifestyles that it often takes a death to bring family and friends together. At a memorial service I attended once for the wife of a worship leader who had served three churches in three different parts of the country, friends from all three areas came, at no small personal expense, to show their love and support. The huge turnout was, as much as anything, a testimony to this couple’s deep commitment to the people they had served, and it was an opportunity for many to remember a courageous woman and give something back to her husband and children.
It was also a time for me to be reunited with old friends who had been much more in my life when I lived closer to them. One in particular had some hard words for me. Some time ago he sent me an e-mail that had gone into considerable detail about changes in his life – personal things he was going through – and I had never answered it or even acknowledged receiving it. This had hurt him deeply and I could tell as he confessed to me his hurt and anger that he had built up a lot of resentment toward me. But at the same time, I could sense a big weight come off his shoulders as he conveyed his true feelings to me. By facing me honestly, he was rescuing what was valuable about our relationship and setting both of us free.
He could have been superficially nice to me at the memorial service and continued on in his resentment and anger, and I would have never known. I couldn’t have even asked his forgiveness if I hadn’t known I had hurt him. But by being honest and confrontational, he gave the Lord the opportunity to heal and restore. God can do wonders in our relationships as long as we face each other and tell the truth.
Jesus once said that if you bring an offering to the Lord and you are aware of something wrong in one of your relationships, you should set your offering aside and go get things straightened out with your brother or sister, then come back and worship. (Matthew 5:23-24) How we live in relationship with each other in the Body of Christ needs our attention, even before our worship. God is basically saying that we can’t be in fellowship with him and knowingly out of fellowship with each other. My friend did the right thing and we are both the better for it

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