I had been provoked, so I snapped. To this day I don’t remember what I said to my sibling, but I know it wasn’t kind. I left fuming.
It only took a couple of minutes for me to feel remorse; still, I attempted to repress those feelings by justifying my actions. After all, it wasn’t as if my sibling was guiltless. Why should I feel bad for responding in anger when they were doing the same? No, I reasoned, THEY have to be the one to make things right.
A breach in relationship, regardless of size, is something we have all experienced. As humans interact with other humans, conflict happens. What matters is what we do about it. Are you going to fight for the relationship or not?
Relationships Are Worth It
First off, is it worth it? No one fights for something they deem unworthy. Value determines response. I wouldn’t give my life to save an ant, but I would for any member of my family. We fight for what we value. So what is valuable?
What did Jesus value? While we could point to many things in his life that he valued, he gave highest priority to relationship – with his father and with those around him. Over and over he sacrificed sleep to spend time with his father or to show love to someone around him. He also cared about the relationships of others. During his last hours, he prayed for what was on his heart, and your relationships were part of what he prayed for:
“I do not pray for [these disciples] alone but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one [unified] as you father are in Me and I in you; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me…And I have declared to them Your name and will declare it that the love with which you loved Me may be in them and I in them.” John 17:20-21,26
Jesus’ last prayer before he died was close to his heart. And he made the answer to his prayer possible through his death. Jesus died on the cross to restore relationship between you and Him, and also between you and others. Jesus’ death testifies to the value of relationship forever.
“Jesus doesn’t know what’s really valuable.” None of us would ever say that. But that’s exactly what your actions are saying when you refuse to fight to preserve a relationship. Do you think your situation is unique or worse than all others? Jesus died for those who killed him. Trust me, while difficult and heartbreaking, you do not face a greater challenge than He did.
How do we mend relationships?
Start in humility. Philippians 4:8 says, “And being found in appearance as a man, [Jesus] humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Recognize your own failings and look to the Lord for forgiveness. Don’t go and point fingers, condemning another; first look to your own heart and actions and make that right before the Lord. Then go and repent to the one you hurt.
Speak the truth in love. Don’t make excuses for yourself or for another, but tell the truth. Allow the other to decide for themselves what their response will be; you are only responsible for your heart and actions.
I had been wrong and I knew it. My attempts at justification only confirmed my guilt. I knew I had to make it right, so I did. Finally, I went to my sibling and repented, asking for forgiveness. I was forgiven and we moved on. The relationship we have to this day is more than worth the sting to my pride as I humbled myself that day – and every time I’ve had to since.
Do you value what Jesus died for? Do you refuse to let go of the offenses of others towards you? Are you willing to do the hard work of humbling yourself to see relationships made right?
April Funk is one of our staff at YWAM Louisville. She faithfully serves in the accounting office and wherever she is needed. Her deep passion for God is reflected in everything she does, specially in the way she loves people and serves them with joy.