Have you ever noticed that when you get up to give a speech, presentation, bible study or sermon you spend a fair bit of time making sure you really drive your point home? I think we put a lot of thought and effort into making sure that all in all we finish off with a BANG!
After a long and sometimes stern letter to the Corinthian church, Paul ends with a pretty powerful conclusion. He gives the church four commands on how believers should treat one another as he calls for unity in the church (v11).
// Be restored // Be encouraged // Be of one mind // Be at peace //
How often do we settle for living with broken relationships. We get frustrated with others and vow to keep them at arm’s length. Sometimes we talk more about someone than to their face. But here God is calling us to go all-out for each other, to strive for full restoration.
Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely times when being restored is just not possible. The other party may be unwilling to move toward restoration or it is unsafe to do so. In Romans 12:18 Paul writes, “as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” We are not told that we need to make others live at peace with us. The only behaviour we can control is our own. We can make the effort to reconcile relationships rather than let them fall apart. We can make a call, drop a note, or make an effort to try and address the strain in the relationship. Even though others may not reciprocate, at least we will know we have tried.
My prayer for us today is that God will give us the courage to reach out in love to those who have hurt us. And that he will lead us into a place of restoration where that is possible. Because sometimes people can surprise us…and making an effort to reconcile may bring unanticipated healing. It can be a moment in which everyone experiences God’s grace.