“Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” (Romans 14:19)
My mom was diagnosed with esophageal cancer last month. This means that stress has moved into my mom’s, my sister’s and my life in the form of appointments, care, worry and the unknown. This stress has been the source conflict among us at times.
Last week, my sister was telling me about how she started crying over a small thing at the dentist’s office. Instead of empathizing with her and comforting her, I told her that she was doing too much for mom and wearing herself out. She broke into my lecture and said: “Libby, you’re yelling at me!” At once, I could see how I was transferring an earlier conflict with my mom to her. I immediately apologized to her and asked for forgiveness. This restored a real peace to our conversation, my sister felt heard, and I felt my spirit restored.
Repentance is a powerful bridge to God through Jesus Christ, which brings us peace (Romans 5:1). To the extent that we do not bring heartfelt requests to God for forgiveness and grace for the strength to truly repent, we find ourselves in growing conflict with God through sin. Our human relationships can reflect the power of a needed apology, when a sincere “I’m sorry” helps restore true peace in the midst of conflict.
Prayer of Response:
Gracious God,give us your eyes to see and ears to hear,when our will supersedes your will.Give us the wisdom to know when we’re wrong,and to say that we’re wrongeven though we might feel wronged too.Grant us your peace. Amen.
—Submitted by Libby Rutherford
(Libby lives in the beautiful farm country of northwest Illinois, where she pastors two rural churches and runs a mega-poultry operation consisting of 9 hens. She and her husband Jay dote on their new grandson Malcolm.)