Friday, January 30, 2009

40 Days of cHesed—Day 20

Day 20 Restoring Broken Fellowship

Have you ever felt expendable? Like you just weren’t needed or wanted? Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a disagreement? While these feelings hurt whenever you experience them, they hurt the most deeply when they happen with someone we care about. It hurts so much because it breaks our fellowship with them. We turn away from each other.

Usually, we do not mean to hurt people. Broken fellowship frequently is a result of some kind of misunderstanding. Perhaps we thought someone said one thing when they really meant something else. Maybe we weren’t listening well and missed a crucial part of what was being said. Maybe we overheard a conversation and didn’t have the proper context. We might even have some strongly held opinions (or even pet peeves!) that differ from others.

When something breaks our fellowship, we have to stop and make it right. Right. That word sometimes is the very source of the problem!

When it is more important to be right than to be righteous (in right relationship), we’ve lost sight of the target. Our hesed has faltered—we have chosen not to serve or submit or lead with love, grace and mercy in our dealings with a brother or sister.

We have a problem. Our relationship is not right. That means we are no longer right with God, either. Our coach may give us a time out to get our act together—and we’ll be smart if we ask him to help us make it right NOW!

It is not easy, but it must be done. Not only for the sake of our brother or sister—but also for the sake of our relationship with God. Jesus tells us clearly that the way we treat each other is how we treat him—and John makes that painfully clear as well. (You’ll read about it next week.)

In Matthew 18:15-20, Jesus gives us the model for dealing with conflict. If you have a problem, you deal with it directly—don’t assume someone else will do the dirty work for you. You must go in private and discuss the matter directly with the person. Our blood covenant together requires us to make it right—and hesed shows both the required attitudes and actions.

Remember from Day 3 that the driving purpose of God is reconciliation—so emphasize getting right, not being right. You may not agree on every point of fact, but agree to disagree agreeably!

Today’s Look at 1 John

Read 1 John 2:18 through 3:10. While you’re reading, look for clues to right relationships.

Keep Breathing!

When you invite God to fill you today with the Holy Spirit so you will be able to remain on target and faithful to God’s purpose, ask him to reveal to you a relationship that needs to be made right. Make a plan to meet with the person—sooner rather than later! Thank God for his amazing hesed toward you by reconciling you through the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ!

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