Different opinions and approaches to living, finance, bills, cleaning- we needed a lot of grace. None of us were perfect however, in hindsight I guess I thought I was just a little more perfect than the others [smile]. One might say that it was an emotionally charged household.
I can’t stand when there is tension in the air. I have to seek peace, to apologise and do whatever it takes to smooth things over and get to the bottom of an argument. I am usually first to apologise and clear the air.
After one particular argument I decided that I had had enough. There are always two sides to every story but this time I felt that I really hadn’t done anything wrong. I rehearsed in me head the number of times that I had been the the one who apologised first, and I made the decision that this time I wasn’t going to be the peace instigator. It was someone else’s turn.
A day went past, and then another and another with tension brewing. I stuck to my guns. The longer we were at war the more convinced I was that the other person really needed to apologise first- it was their turn.
Sunday came around and that morning I learnt a lesson that I will never forget.
I was playing keys and as the church began to gathered to worship I felt the weight of what I was carrying heavy in my heart. The resentment had been building and I couldn’t ignore it. As I stood at the keyboard and prepared to play this verse dropped into my heart:
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24 NIV)
There was no interpretation needed. I knew I was wrong to have left the argument unresolved. I may have been ‘right’ in the situation but I was totally wrong before God and my heart was loaded with regret.
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. (Romans 12:18 NKJV)
We are asked to seek peace with as much as depends on us. We can’t change what we can’t change, but for the sake of our own clean conscience we need to know that we have done everything within our power to have peace with everyone. Yep everyone. Even when you are right. Even when ‘they’ are wrong. It is possible to be right, but wrong all at the same time.
It’s not even about the other person sometimes, God gives us this wisdom for our own good, knowing that it will free our hearts. That morning as I stood trying to worship Jesus I was distracted by the root of bitterness that had begun to take up residence in my heart. To this day I am not sure if my friend was thinking or feeling the same but the truth was that it didn’t matter. The issue was effecting me. Hebrews 12:14-15 describes it as a root of bitterness:
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:… lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;” (Hebrews 12:14-15 NKJV)
In our peace getting we are revealing Jesus. More of His grace is revealed in us as we depend on Him to do what our flesh does not want to do, but He is also revealed to others.
Let’s make a commitment to honest, authentic worship. There is no room for bitterness, regret or unforgiveness. When we remove it we are making more space for Him to dwell.
In love and peace,
This post is a part of a 21 day worship devotional ‘A meander though Romans 12.’ Subscribe to rest of this series and future posts here.
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