I’ve been reading a compilation of Oswald Chambers’ series on the Sermon on the Mount. Let me be honest here: I have really had to slow down and chew on this book in a very quiet, reflective way. This is not a fast read, but it is oh, so good!
I’ve struggled lately with an issue that is probably common to everyone: I’ve had an argument with someone that means a lot to me. Now we are in a silent phase and the question becomes, “Who needs to make the first step to re-open this relationship?” As I see it, my friend caused the rift by dredging up an issue from eons ago in which I was at fault that is still a cloud for him. This issue has never been resolved in his mind, so it still comes up from time to time. I have gotten just plain tired of hearing about it. I made the necessary corrections long ago and asked for forgiveness of the pain I caused. So, when it was brought up yet once again, I just had had it! I let it blow. I walked out on the conversation, knowing that this was the wrong thing for me to do, knowing that I should be responding differently, yet feeling very justified in my position.
We’ve been silent since. And now the question is, “Shouldn’t he have to apologize? For goodness sake, he hasn’t ever gotten over the original issue. He needs to, doesn’t he? And then he should apologize for bringing it up again.”
Well, it’s very interesting that I should be in the midst of this relationship rift and at the same time be reading Oswald Chambers’ thoughts on the Sermon on the Mount. As Chambers dissects Matthew 5, I am getting a severe talking to by my Father in Heaven! Chambers talks about how when we accept Christ as our Savior, he doesn’t just add to who we are, He completely replaces our old disposition with His own. Once that happens, God can work in us to change who we are. And the world will see that this has happened when we are faced with trying circumstances.
In the face of a difficult situation, do I continue showing a sour, irritable, sarcastic, or spiteful attitude? Or do I show a sweetness that can come only from the Holy Spirit? What choices am I making when put in a trying set of circumstances? In other words, what am I going to do about this rift in a relationship that means so much to me? Will I continue to harbor the cold shoulder until he figures it out? Or, gulp, do I go to this person and explain why I was so angry and restore this relationship with humility in my spirit?
Let me tell you, the human side of me (just because I have Christ’s disposition in me doesn’t mean my human body has been removed) says to let him figure it out on his own! For Pete’s sake, how many times has this argument come up! (Holy Spirit: How many times did Jesus say to forgive? Me: Oh, yeah. I suppose that applies here doesn’t it?) Yeah, but I’m just so frustrated that he never figures this out. Will he ever get it?
Here’s a quote from Oswald Chambers: “You have no business to harbor an emotion the conclusion of which you see to be wrong.” Well that about seals it, doesn’t it? I have no business worrying about where some other person is at. I need only take charge of my own self. Am I doing what is in line with the disposition of Christ? Would Christ act the way I am? Kind of back to the “WWJD” philosophy. The emotions I have been stuck on lately are not the sweetness of the Holy Spirit, that’s for sure!
Now I guess it’s time for me to spend some serious on-my-knees time. I can’t go to my brother in the Lord with an angered or frustrated spirit. I must be in a place where I am truly humble and ready to apologize sincerely for the pain I have caused him. Taking full responsibility for my own selfish response and immature attitude is what Christ is expecting of me. I must not be bitter or judgmental or our relationship will not be restored as equal partners. May Christ do a work in me to prepare the way for restoration.