Don't give up on relationships
June 30, 2014
by Pastor Jerry D. Nelson, Good Shepherd Free Lutheran Church, Cokato

Just yesterday, on my day off, I met a good friend of mine and spent some time recording some of his original music. He writes melodies and piano accompaniments for songs that are directly from scripture. He wants people to be able to use the songs for scripture memory and worship times at home. We have similar interests in the Lord and in music, and it was an enjoyable day together.

The highlight of the day was when he told me that he and his neighbor had reconciled. “What?” I exclaimed. It was hard for me to believe.

I had heard many stories about his neighbor. For many years, they had argued and disagreed about various house and property issues, and nothing had improved. He’d given up hope that there would ever be a renewed friendship.

But something happened.

You see, my friend has been changing. Through memorizing scripture and singing scripture, he has filled his thoughts with the message of Jesus, the message to love his neighbor, and to feed his enemies.

He told me of many recent attempts to express the love of the Lord to his neighbor, but to no avail. Finally, the hard exterior of his neighbor was softened through the work of the Holy Spirit, and they are now friends.

Anger and resentment can easily linger on through our lives; usually stemming from a wound that never healed.

I remember an instance of a woman who lost her husband of many years to a heart attack. After his funeral, while at the gravesite, she noticed that her husband was now buried next to a man that her husband had always hated. Throughout their lives, they never got along.

Shortly after the funeral and burial, she decided to have her husband’s body exhumed and moved to another part of the cemetery because she couldn’t stand the thought of her husband being buried anywhere near the man he long had hated.

Sad, isn’t it? We can carry un-reconciled relationships to the grave.

As we enjoy the beauty of God’s creation this summer, let’s take time to think about our friends and family, and pray for reconciliation. Many of our church relationships and family relationships can become strained, but God can bring healing and love into hurting places.

God can lead you to ways that will bring you back together with someone that you’ve lost touch with. Don’t give up on relationships.

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24

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