Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. Ps.27:3.
The Lord showed Himself mighty this week.
Have you ever experienced conflict? Deep gashing conflict, conflict that carves grooves in a soul? We have.
Have you ever betrayed someone? Have you flung the full weight of your fallenness on another soul and then watched it crumble under the blow? I have.
Have you ever felt the sword of another’s betrayal? Have you ever trusted someone with your darkest stories and believed that they would truly SEE you underneath, only to watch them, (slow motion, over and over), turn the trust into a weapon to flatten you? I have.
Conflict is sometimes ugly and always hard. We were made in the Image of God. Therefore, we were made for Love. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Cor.13:4-8. All of the conflict embedded in my lifetime has oozed from a failure to Love, on my part or others.
This week, four people (who broke each other) sat in a living room with apple cider (or decaf) and pumpkin bars, looked each other’s depravity full in the face, and…
The gates of hell shudder under the holy weight of Forgiveness, which is the most unnatural and therefore most divine of sacred offerings. There is nothing on heaven or on earth that shines God’s favor like the full extent of true forgiveness. To unshackle someone who is bound to you by a debt they can never repay? To be released from the manacles of guilt and condemnation? To finally shed the chains? Sweetness unlike any other.
Forgiveness is the final form of love. Reinhold Niebuhr.
A few months ago I told someone, We are in a conflict with (Names) and we are not going to be able to work it out. The relationship is over, likely forever.
God in His mercy and power showed us a better way. Four people who love the Lord more than our own pain and our own self-justification chose to walk in it.
Have you given up on a relationship lately? Have you refused to offer grace? Have you lived condemned and afraid?
And there I would remain still, if not for the kindness and severity of a deeper mercy.
As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Col.3:12-14.
Do not grow weary in doing good. For in due time you will reap if you do not grow weary. Gal.6:9.