Monday, February 27, 2012

3 R's - Relationship Restoration and Reconciliation...

Day 20 of 40! (halfway mark! J

Relationships are always worth restoring.

Ok. So we’ve established the importance of church family, how much we need community, and how we need to be an example to people of God’s true love in human form here on earth.
But that still leaves us wondering… what about the days we drive eachother crazy?
What about those times when our relationships with our church family are put in jeopardy. Those days when we’d rather be anywhere and with anyone else…
Those are the days when God steps in with Paul’s words to the Philippians…

If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
 5-8Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

 9-11Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:1-11 MSG)

(I know, that was a lot of Bible … but I literally couldn’t leave any of it out!)

Putting yourself aside isn’t easy.
Like Rick Warren talks about in today’s chapter, it takes a LOT of spiritual maturity.
But by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do this.
We can live in unity with the entire Body of Christ!
No more silly fights… be slow to speak and slow to become angry.
No more offenses… live harmoniously, always esteeming others as better than yourself.
Live like Jesus… in complete obedience to what the Father wanted Him to do.

You know, sometimes we get so caught up in the “who said what” of a situation and how we can fix this on our own strength. And we forget that all we simply have to do is let the Holy Spirit change our hearts in the situation.
What does Jesus have to say about restoring friendships?

This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God. (Matthew 5:23-24)

Pretty straight forward.
And believe me, I’ve tried it.
The biggest blessings in my life happened right after I went to a friend and made things right with him/her… it’s not just a suggestion.
God loves when His kids take the initiative and go make things right with someone.
It’s a picture of Jesus’ love for us, really.
If He loved us and forgave us, the least we can do is love and forgive our family, friends, enemies, etc.
It’s not a suggestion… it’s a requirement.   
Jesus said:
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

He loves when we seek restoration and unity in His church.
So… where should we start?
Don’t wait… life’s too short to wait. J

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