Daily Devotional for Tuesday December 18, 2007
(1 Thessalonians 3:12)
Broken relationships. One of the common prayer requests I see daily, especially at this time of year, are requests for God to reconcile family members whose relationships have been broken for a myriad of reasons. One of the tests of our spiritual maturity is the ability to forgive, pray for, and love someone who has wronged us. It is especially difficult when that someone is part of our family. I am going to challenge you today to exhibit Christ-like love this Christmas as you share this blessed time of year with your family members.
Regardless of who is at fault, who is wrong, the circumstances involved, my challenge to you this Christmas is to make an attempt to reconcile with someone in your family that you may not currently have a relationship with. I realize in many cases this is going to be a very difficult task, but it is what God wants you to do, and He will give you the strength and courage to make the effort.
Let me say up front, you are not responsible for the actions of anyone else, only your own. You cannot force a relationship with someone who refuses to accept you. But you can, and God requires you, to make the effort. At that point, it is in His hands. He is the one who has to move on the other person's heart. Much like in witnessing, you can never force someone to get saved. But God requires you to give them the opportunity, and after that, it is up to the power of the Holy Spirit to move on that person's heart.
It is important to note here that God does NOT expect you to be abused or mistreated in any way. I am aware that the person you are estranged from may have hurt you deeply in the past. God is still calling for you to forgive that person, but unless they are repentant, sadly, you may simply not be able to have any personal contact with that person until they are. Again, God can give you the strength to forgive them, He calls you to pray for them, but He is NOT asking you to have any contact with them if they are simply going to abuse you in some way.
I am not going to elaborate very much today, because the challenge God has for you is very simple, very straightforward. God is asking you to make the effort to reconcile with someone that you are not on good terms with during this Christmas season. Forget the reasons that you are fighting, forget what has happened in the past, make the effort in Christ-like love. At that point, you have done what God has asked you to do, and it is then up to the other person to respond.
I know this is not easy and in many cases will be very painful. I will be praying for you. I will be praying for His strength, words, and love to be with you in a way like you never have known before. God is love. It is His desire to see His children love one another. What better Christmas present for God than to obey His voice and make the effort to reconcile your relationship with that family member you are separated from!
I love you and care about you so much. I will be praying today specifically for you to heed this challenge and to be obedient to God's voice. I want to see you be all God has raised you up to be. One way you can do that, is by doing those things in life, even the painful things, that you know God expects you to do. You will be surprised how much can be accomplished just by making the effort.
The problems won't immediately disappear, they won't wipe away years of pain, but God is able to heal and restore relationships. God is a God of reconciliation and restoration! That is His desire for you this Christmas!