“It’s harder to make amends with an offended friend than to capture a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with iron bars.”
Proverbs 18:19 (NLT)
Broken relationships are indeed difficult to mend and put together again. I was speaking to a friend last weekend and he was telling me about his broken relationship with his fourteen-year-old son. Over coffee I was reflecting on that situation and came to the conclusion that it is somewhat like a broken limb; it takes time, effort and a lot of care before it comes back together and eventually healing takes place.
If we read the scripture above once again and consider just how difficult it would be to capture a city that has been built to withstand a long siege; months, sometimes years, are required to penetrate those defences. It also mentions arguments here; these are likened to a gate locked with iron bars! Impassable, not easily overcome—it’s going to take a lot of effort to get inside this gate! The unfortunate part of all this is that fortifications, barriers, gates and walls are extremely easy to erect but almost impossible to tear down. I guess that we all understand that because every one of us has been there, done that and bought the tee shirt!
The Bible offers much sound advice on how to approach these difficult situations. Ephesians 4:26 (AMP), for example, says “When angry, do not sin; do not even let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down.” In other words, never finish a day by allowing angry thoughts to remain with you. Resolve the issue promptly. This, of course, fits in perfectly with the advice given by Jesus himself during the “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5:23-24 (AMP): “So if when you are offering your gift at the altar you there remember that your brother has any [grievance] against you, leave your gift at the altar and go. First make peace with your brother, then come back and present your gift.” These fortifications, these gates of iron between us and other people, also hinder our worship and prayer life! Jesus underlines the importance of making peace first; and once we have accomplished that then we are free to bring our gift of worship—it’s that important!
So if we are angry, let’s keep our eye on the sun and go swiftly to our brother seeking reconciliation and peace!
Loving Father, it is so easy for us humans to be angry and to hang on to our wrong thoughts for a long time. Please fill us with the urgency for reconciliation and peace before the day is over.
Study by Cliff Neill
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
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