Restoring Relationships: Take the Initiative
By Rick Warren
— March 2, 2018
“If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God” (Matthew 5:23-24 The Message).
The second biblical step toward restoring a relationship is to take the initiative.
Whether you are the offender or the offended, God expects you to make the first move. Don’t wait for the other party. Go to that person first.
Restoring broken fellowship is so important, Jesus commanded that it even take priority over group worship. He said, “If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God” (Matthew 5:23-24 The Message).
When fellowship is strained or broken, plan a “peace conference” immediately. Don’t procrastinate, make excuses, or promise, “I’ll get around to it someday.” Schedule a face-to-face meeting as soon as possible. Delay only deepens resentment and makes matters worse.
In conflict, time heals nothing. It only causes hurts to fester.
Acting quickly also reduces the spiritual damage to you. The Bible says sin, including unresolved conflict, blocks our fellowship with God and keeps our prayers from being answered, besides making us miserable. Job’s friends reminded him, “To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do” (Job 5:2 GNT) and “You are only hurting yourself with your anger” (Job 18:4 GNT).
The success of a peace conference often depends on choosing the right time and place to meet. Don’t meet when you are tired, rushed, or could be interrupted. The best time is when you both are at your best.
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Talk It Over
- With whom do you need to have a peace conference? What step will you take today to plan for it?
- Why is it risky to have a peace conference when you are tired or rushed?
- Think of a time when you had a conflict with someone. How did it affect your fellowship with God?
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