Therefore, if you are bringing an offering to God and you remember that your brother is angry at you or holds a grudge against you, then leave your gift before the altar, go to your brother, repent and forgive one another, be reconciled, and then return to the altar to offer your gift to God.
Matthew 5:23-24, The Voice
Relational maintenance is necessary for the long term effectiveness of two people growing old together. We cannot ignore relational needs any more than we can ignore the ongoing maintenance of a piece of machinery. Relationships, like machines, can break down for lack of care and/or fatigue from long term use. Hence, healthy connections pay attention to the quality of their connectivity. Two independent individuals learn, by grace, to become interdependent.
It's not unusual for relationships to require regular repair and restoration. Perhaps a harsh word was spoken and left behind a hurting heart. A birthday or anniversary was inadvertently forgotten, so feelings of disappointment simmer. Broken promises break hearts, dishonesty creates distrust and withholding emotional support can cause insecurity, even fear. Thus, growing relationships communicate on a heart level, not just a mental exchange of information. Mature relationships quickly discern between issues that are: minor or major, one time or incremental, deliberate or unintentional. They converse, before they begin to obsess over unhealthy emotions.
“It [love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5).
Before I give to God, who do I need to give my sincere apology and/or ask forgiveness? Relational repair precedes religious routine. If we submit to the Lord’s will, the Holy Spirit will bring to mind where we need relational mending. Reconciliation may or may not be the immediate result of our confession and repentance, but we still do our part and trust the Spirit to move the offended party’s heart. Relational maintenance means we engage tense situations.
Once we come clean with a friend or acquaintance we have a clear conscience in our worship of Christ. Worship is the Lord’s wonderful reminder of our heart’s condition and the health of our relationships. Indeed, out of our praise to Jesus we are able to speak to others about Jesus. Relational health with people grows our relational health with the Lord. Because our heavenly Father has already reconciled us to Himself through Christ, we are able to reconcile with others!
“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen” (1 John 4:20).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the courage to lovingly embrace relational tension so I can grow healthy relationships with people and with You.
Related Readings: Proverbs 19:11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; James 1:19; 1 John 5:1-3
Post/Tweet today: Out of our praise to Jesus we are able to speak to others about Jesus. #wisdomhunters