You know that gut feeling when you are in the middle of a verbal fight? It’s sickening. You know exactly what you are supposed to do, you know exactly what to say, and you just don’t do or say anything to anyone. Why? Is it because I have a fear of conflict? Do I hate admitting that I am in the wrong? What is it?!
Before I begin to answer these questions, I wanna see what Jesus would say. I know He was never the butt of any quarrels (except with the Pharisees, but Jesus was just spittin’ mad truth), but I do know He knows how to fix them. In Matthew 5, Jesus is speaking on a mountain. It’s quite famous, from it we get Beatitudes (which are just eight blessings on the Kingdom’s citizens) and we continue to revisit this conference that Jesus spoke at for days! Chapter 5: 23-24 says, “So if you are offering your gift at the alter and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the alter and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” HOW THE EARTH DO I RECONCILE MYSELF BACK TO MY BROTHER, WHOM I HAVE MADE ANGRY??? I JUST WANT TO FORGET ABOUT IT AND MOVE ON!
But then I go to my friend; I apologize and beg for forgiveness. This is when I usually hear, “Bre, you have to gain my trust back.” Quite honestly, I’ve heard those words a lot. I’m not usually the brother that was wronged; I’m usually the brother that is wronging. I am continually gaining and regaining peoples trust and hoping that I work my way into good graces. There is an amazing truth about our Father: no matter what brother you are, the Lord forgives quickly and you can do absolutely nothing to attempt to gain it back and then….He just forgets about it. He says “Bre, we start a new slate here… in this moment. You are still My beautiful child whom I love. Welcome back home, wanderer.” HOW AMAZING?! But, I’ve still wronged my brother.
Here is what I find interesting, Jesus says “brothers.” If we are brother/sisters, then they must be siblings of the Kingdom, right? So when we hurt our siblings, we hurt a little more deeply because these are the people whom we do life with. These are the people that know some deep stuff about us. These are people that you know how to cut them where it hurts. So, this isn’t some small something a brother has against you. You’ve honestly hurt them and hurt them deeply. I’m just stating the seriousness of my crimes here. As brothers and sisters we are called to love and not just love, but to love genuinely.
I’m going to tell you a quick story of one argument that turned into perfect love:
My best friend and I had our first argument over who sang Reflections in my favorite movie Mulan. I know that is absolutely the silliest thing to argue over, but it meant a lot to me in the heat of the moment! She says its Christina Aguilera and I KNOW that it is not. So, we argue for about 30 seconds before I reached for my phone and let Google have my back. And for the first time in history, I am right and she is wrong. Here is what I did to hurt her: I publicly demeaned her in front of women that we look up to and I showed no compassion or grace towards her. She got so mad that she had to walk across the room to calm down! I can’t blame her, but in the moment I could have cared less. If I was honest with myself, it would have been easier for me to end my friendship with my best friend than to admit that I was wrong and apologize. I listened to the enemy saying, “you don’t need her. She needs to apologize to you. You didn’t do anything wrong. This matters.” So, I gave in and I decided to leave without addressing the argument. My sweet friend scurries across the parking lot and decided to act in love when I was being hateful. We apologized. We cried. And then we prayed for one another. And we continue to do ministry together. No- we didn’t forget this argument, but we use it to point people back to the Father. I don’t want to say that we have the perfect friendship because we are flawed and we are selfish, but we do have the perfect friendship. When we fail each other we look to the Trinity to resolve our sins, we hold each other accountable, we love each other enough help each other grow than to care about “hurting her feelings” when we know it needs to be said, we pray for each other a lot, and that is perfection. I love you, Sydney Jean.
Back to the last question that I yelled at you: How do I reconcile myself back to my brother/sister?
Confess to the Father. Confess to your brother. Forgive yourself. Love yourself. Then love your brother.
Confess to the Father: You might as well because He knows you. Do you believe me when I say that He knew what you were going to do before you ever formed the thought behind the action? As much as I hate to admit it, He does because He made my little brain. He formed my thought processes. I have found more peace and wisdom when as soon as I committed an act against a sibling after I spoke with Him. His word says, “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance (Luke 15: 7 ESV, emphasis mine).” He also speaks about His patience with you in 2 Peter 3:9. So He wants you to talk with Him first, so do it.
Confess to your brother: This is where things get a little harder for me, I have to face conflict. But here is a disclaimer: your true brothers and sisters are going to forgive you and offer love and if not— love them anyway (Proverbs 10:12). James 5:16 says (one of my favorite verses), “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” If the Word says to love your enemies, how much more should you love your brother? Find their love language and speak it to them even when it is inconvenient for you. Trust me, trust will be regained and you will eventually move on from this with greater understanding of loving one another, but it is a process.
Forgive yourself: I’m keeping this one short. If you can’t forgive yourself then how can you forgive others?
Love yourself: That’s hard to do. We often listen to the enemy, “I’m not worthy of love. Look at all you have done— your unloveable.” That is WRONG! (James 5:7) The Lord loves you and He forgives you, that should be more than enough reason to adore yourself too. Same concept but different wording: if you can’t love yourself then how can you love others? If you believe that there is something that will keep others from loving you, then that same theory will somehow translate in your love of others (Romans 8:1. We can’t be children with dry cups, they must be overflowing.)
Love your brother: You are overcome in the Father’s love that you can’t help but to give it to someone else (1 John 4: 19-21). Paul’s letter to the church of Corinth talks about being able to perform all kinds of gifts but if you don’t love then it is all in vain. Go back to your first love and let Him teach you how to love His children.
Why is it so hard to love others sometimes? My only theory is because the enemy knows that it is the hypothetical blood that flows through the Body (1 John 4:8). I love making the enemy mad because he is dumb, so the best way to ruffle his feathers is love the unlovable, unreachable, untouchable, and the Children of the Living God. I’m not saying go tackle everyone with a giant bear hug, but loving someone may mean just listening to somebody that is hurting, taking someone to dinner, or just sitting with them.
“Hatred starts fights, but love pulls a quilt over the bickering.” – Proverbs 10:12 (MSG).
- Can you recall a time where you and a friend were fighting? How did you handle the fight?
- What is the best way to love your friend?
- What can you do to love your friends better?
- Try to think of a conflict that you handled wrong? What have you learned to handle future issues?