Proverbs 18:19, “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle. “
It seems the LORD is speaking to us about relationships and so let us pay careful attention as we go about our week. Let us remember that we are under obligation to each other to lift and edify one another (see Romans 14:18-19). As servants of the LORD we must follow after things that will make peace in the hearts of our families and brethren. We must take great care to prevent quarrels and to not instill resentment among our fellow members. Instead wisdom and grace need to take center stage in our communication with one another. Teasing, joking, and slanderous communication that would squash the spirit of a brother should not be allowed in our interactions.
When we have offended someone, it is most urgent to bring it to the table and discuss it, repent and restore the fellowship. We must act quickly when one has been offended as our advisory will use every moment to spurn doubt and distrust in the one who has been offended. The walls will be built around their heart just as our passage states. We must do all we can to keep those walls from being raised and we must be willing to submit ourselves to humility as we approach those we may have offended.
It will take work and great effort to tear down the walls that can be built in times of offense, but just like Esau was a brother offended, and seemed harder to be won than a strong city, yet by a work of God upon his heart, in answer to Jacob's prayer, he was won (Genesis 27:40-42; and Genesis 32-35:3 for this complete story).
We too can have this confidence that God can work out any relationship if we are willing to submit and restore. Let us go about our day restoring and building relationships.
Prayer: Father, keep our hearts open to others so that we will keep short accounts with one another. LORD, lead us into understanding how our actions, words and looks can offend those we work with, live with and socialize. When we have erred, help us to humble ourselves and go to the brother or sister who is offended and speak to them in humility and ask forgiveness for the offense. Then let us restore the relationship through your Holy Spirit and practice to keep the unity of the spirit in future endeavors. LORD if there be found any malice in our hearts toward others, pluck it from us and show us our need for repentance. LORD, if we are harboring walls because we have been offended, help us to approach the brother or sister who offended and begin working on tearing down the walls of our enemy. LORD your people must continue to love and serve one another and we pray that our actions and hearts will work toward that end. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Connie Renfro ©