For the Christian, living for Christ involves living in relationship with others.
I spoke about this today . . . about relationships . . . with God . . . with people . . . as a citizen . . . as a pastor . . . as a husband . . . as a father . . .
I usually try to emotionally disengage from what I speak about. I want to communicate truth as best I understand it and can convey it, and not my emotions or “soap box.” But today was hard . . . because relationships are hard . . . because relationships have been one of the areas of frequent failure – or struggle – in my life . . . because relationships have been a source of pain and disappointment.
I know I’m not alone. I know others have suffered in hard relationships much more than I have.
The truth I sought to share today is that God chose to “stick it out” with us and make a way for our broken relationship with Him to be repaired . . . to be restored . . . to be reconciled. And there is an God-ordained link between our relationship with God and our relationship with other people.
The New City Catechism asks: What does the law of God require? It answers that question this way: That we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and love our neighbor as ourselves.
Jesus made this plain in Mark 12:30-31 (NLT): “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: love your neighbor as yourself.”
So if we truly love God, we will truly love others. If we have truly been reconciled to God, we will then seek to be reconciled to those with whom our relationship is strained.
And this is hard . . . but possible.
Possible because God has taken the initiative to reconcile us to Himself and make us his very own child.
Possible because the love God has shown to us . . . and given us . . . and filled us with . . . is the love He now calls on us to share with those around us . . . with those with whom we have had a falling out . . . a grievance . . . a broken relationship.
This is hard. But if Christ has laid down his life in order for us to escape hell and win heaven . . . to be reconciled to our heavenly Father and King . . . dare we do any less than surrender our reconciled lives to Him in obedience by loving – and being reconciled to – any and every one else in our lives.
Dare we hold a grudge?
Dare we fail to seek reconciliation with a brother or sister?
No matter how hard it is?