I was enthusiastically about to write to continue with the train of thought I began in my previous post, when, suddenly, I became aware that we wrong one another and, really, don’t do the needful to make it right. I remembered Matthew 5:23, 24: “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”
Remembering these things, I became sad and pensive. The fact that we hurt one another isn’t an issue with me because we are human and it is inevitable that we will offend others — intentionally or otherwise. What saddens me is that we don’t face up to it. Instead, we sweep it under the carpet or smile and go on, pretending as if nothing happened.
But, something did happen. Someone got hurt, and until we recognise it and ask and give forgiveness, we could never be reconciled with one another. The hurt person may have come to terms with it on his or her own, but he or she could never be confident that it may not happen again and so could never trust you fully.
Sometimes, we hurt without realising it because we are blinded and can’t see the wrong we do. In such cases, usually, the hurt person would react and that should give ample reason that something is not quite right. Maybe, that’s the reason why I recalled Matthew 5: 23, 24. The verse doesn’t say “when you are at the altar and remember you have a grudge against someone …” It says “… remember that your brother … ” This verse tells us that we need to be sensitive to what the other person is feeling and take the initiative to resolve it.
People who do it are those who work at their relationships. Perhaps, that is why our offerings are not a blessing. We ask and ask and don’t get enough and give and give and it doesn’t get multiplied! The underlying reason is that we did not take the initiative to sort things out with the brother or sister who we think may have a grudge against us. For God, offending our brother or sister is the same as offending Him, but we don’t give it a priority to make it right.
Sometimes, we do become aware of our mistakes, but, we still fail to talk with the other person for reconciliation. Some spiritual people, who have access to the pulpit, will use it to publicly apologise to God but still don’t face the person you actually hurt to apologise!
I had a good friend. A few years ago, she began acting a little strange towards me. Sensing her distance, I approached her to sort things out, but she dismissed me. I tried a couple of times but met with no success. Till this day, I don’t know why or how I upset her. We are civil with each other now but the friendship is gone.
These are some of the ways we deal with hurt, but they merely reflect unredeemed human nature. If we really want good relationships and make right the wrong we do to others, we should start practicising the Biblical injunction in Ephesians 4: 15, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
When I became assisstant editor and then editor, my immediate boss and the top boss heard stories (unrelated) about me. Both, separately, called me up to find out what was going on. I spoke the truth honestly. Both understood and I continued to have the freedom to work and I gave my best.
People who really care will get to the truth and they won’t waste time — like years — to get it. They will confront the issue because they care for you more than themselves. And the truth always sets us free!
But, it begins by speaking the truth in love. We then grow and mature and become better people at handling our relationships.