(Today’s post by Marc Cannon)
As I read through this chapter I began to think about what these men were repairing; the walls of Jerusalem. In this chapter many men were working in unison for one goal…To protect the people of God from outside influences. It’s always hard for me to gain perspective on chapters like these because it’s repetitive and seemingly just meant to lay groundwork for things to come. However, almost immediately the Lord pressed something on my heart that I think we all have struggled with in the past, may be struggling with now and most certainly will in the future. What I’m talking about also leads to the common good of the Church and most importantly a healthier life and relationship with Jesus. I’m speaking of relationships.
Here we see the Jews, who have returned to Jerusalem, begin to repair an important piece to keep them safe from outside influences that could tear them apart, cause division, death, sin exploitation…You name it. This life isn’t built around material things. If they’re broken they can be rebuilt or repaired fairly easily. This life is built around relationships, of all types. When a relationship is broken it can have a lasting affect that far outreaches just saying, “I’m sorry” or just losing one person from your realm of friends. A broken relationship can sever families, stoke depression, and divide organizations (Churches included), construct grudges, breakdown businesses and turn people away from the good things in their life. I believe a broken relationship with someone can hurt as bad as death. You lose respect, trust and dare I say you stop loving the person in question.
Relationships are just that, relations. There are 2 I’s in relationships, not one. No matter what the transgression is that causes a relationship to falter there are far outreaching consequences. There is a domino effect that occurs when we create a chasm with a friend, coworker or family member. Those around us suffer as well. There is a mutual aspect of friendship and relationships that reach through those around us. It’s not just those at odds who have to deal with the hurt, anger, grudges, or un-forgiveness…It’s everyone you come in contact with daily.
Let’s face it, all of us have been through this in our lives. Most of us have relationships that have been dormant for years that still hurt us. Some have fresh wounds. If you think about it those wounds weigh us down. Maybe you need to seek forgiveness from someone or maybe you’re on the other side of the coin and forgive someone. The Word is clear about forgiveness. We are to forgive…We are to be kind and we are to be loving. When we build grudges and when we don’t forgive, it makes it hard for us to be kind or loving. So what are we supposed to do?
- Pray that the Lord reveals to you those you need to forgive and those you need to make amends to. It’s not always clear of whom we may have hurt in the past or likewise.
- Pray about being more assertive in resolving relational issues when they arise. The Lord will lead you in these situations and the outcome will far exceed those of our own doings.
Let’s face it, relationships are messy, they’re hard, they’re work and we’re not perfect. But no relationship is beyond repair. Just like the walls of Jerusalem. If we lean on God’s wisdom and His healing through humbling ourselves, relationships can be healed, your heart can be renewed and the weight of hurts can be lifted. Most importantly, always remember that Jesus forgave us and He is the ultimate model for us to follow.
Ephesians 4:32 be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as Christ forgave you.