A few years ago I experienced the devastating loss of a friendship. The loss occurred not at the hands of death, but at the hands of conflict. Strife was stirred up in the body of Christ and fellowship was broken. Along with the fellowship, my heart was broken.
As I grieved, I remembered what the Lord said in Proverbs 6:
There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him:
- haughty eyes, a lying tongue
- hands that shed innocent blood
- a heart that devises wicked schemes
- feet that are quick to rush into evil
- a false witness who pours out lies
- and a person who stirs up conflict in the community
God hates conflict between His people. I totally get it. I have experienced the stab of sorrow when one of my children throws a stinging insult to another. It’s a double blow. I hate to see defeat in the sad eyes of one. And I hate to see venom in the eyes of another. I hate conflict between my children because it breaks my heart.
I imagine it’s much the same for our Father. He created each of us in His image, with a unique piece of Himself woven into the fabric of who we are. Oh, the pain of watching your precious own bite and devour one another dividing Your body. “It was our sorrows that weighed him down” (Is. 53:4).
As much as conflict hurts our Father, now imagine the joy He feels when years of fracture see the light of reconciliation ahead. As in the story of the wayward son who returned home in Luke 15, a celebration of divine magnitude ensues. The joy of reconciliation stops angelic hosts in their tracks, along with their Master. In that moment they look to earth and rejoice.
This week the hope of reconciliation with that lost friend of mine has become a plausible reality. I received lengthy, humble apology that stopped me in my tracks. Now it is up to me to put on humility and receive my sister with the same grace that I received from my Lord Jesus. I pray for peace to prevail among the children of the Most High. May this opportunity prove that I really belong Jesus. As He said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35).
And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation (2Cor. 5:18-19).