Summary: The Bible gives the best advice on restoring broken relationships.
Restoring Broken Relationships
Late one summer evening in Broken Bow, Nebraska, a weary truck driver pulled his rig into an all-night truck stop. The waitress had just served him when three tough looking, leather jacketed motorcyclist- of the Hell’s Angels type- decided to give him a hard time. Not only did they verbally abuse him, one grabbed the hamburger off his plate, another took a handful of his french fries, and the third picked up his coffee and began to drink it.
How do you think he responded? He calmly rose, picked up the check, walked to the front of the room, put the check and his money on the cash register, and went out the door. The waitress followed him to put the money in the till and stood watching out the door as the big truck drove away into the night.
When she returned, one of the bikers said to her, “Well, he’s not much of a man, is he?” She replied, “I don’t know about that, but he sure ain’t much of a truck driver. He just ran over three motorcycles on his way out of the parking lot.”
(Illustration from a sermon by Jeff Simms)
Many of us may understand how this truck driver feels. It is hard to be nice to some people. The gospel teaches us that I have a obligation to every person, not just to the people who are nice. We will look at today a passage where Jesus instructs his disciples on how to heal a broken relationship God’s way
Our world is littered with broken relationships. We have them in our families between husbands and wives, parents and children. We face them between employers and employees, with neighbors, different ethnic and social groups, between nations. What is the solution? Is there a way to repair the breech, to rebuild the bridge, to restore the relationship? I believe God gives us a vital key to restore relationships. We don’t talk about it much, but the Bible does. It is the key of humility. In essence, it is living out the Great Commandment to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as you love yourself. It means focusing on God and other people, not self.
1. What are some of the causes of broken relationships?
In a church a used to attend two friends of mine had a broken relationship. One did some work for the other one, and it wasn’t acceptable when it was finished. They haven’t spoken since, and they attend the same church. One is a believer and one is not. I don’t know who is right and who is wrong or at fault. The Bible does mention who is right or wrong only that reconciliation is necessary. However, the greater responsibility for reconcilation of a relationship is on the Christian.
The cause can be direct or indirect, material or personal.
A. Unkind Words spoken
B. Wounding Actions
D. Good Things undone
2. What are some Preliminary steps in restoring relationships.
-Realize you were reconciled to God through Jesus
10. For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Romans 5:10
-realize how important relationships are to God
-realize how important relationships are to You
-Realize Reconciliation to man must precede worship of God.
23 "So if you are standing before the altar in the Temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there beside the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.
-refuse to allow broken relationships in your life (Do all you can to restore)
-remember it doesn’t matter who is at fault
“A long dispute means that both parties are wrong.” Voltaire
-humble yourself and do something about it. (Matthew 18:3-4)
3. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Shining Shoes for Christ
When Brennan Manning, an evangelical Catholic, was waiting to catch a plane in the Atlanta airport, he sat down in one of the many places where usually black men shine white men’s shoes. And an elderly black man began to shine Brennan’s shoes. And Brennan had this feeling inside that after he was done, he should pay him and tip him and then reverse the roles.
And when he was finished, he stood up and looked at the black man and said, "Now, sir, I would like to shine your shoes." And the black man recoiled and stepped back and said, "You’re going to do what?" He said, "I’d like to shine your shoes. Come on. You sit down here. How would you like them done?" And the black man began to cry, and he said, "No white man ever talked to me like this before." And the story ends with the white Catholic with arms around a black Atlanta man, and they’ve only just met, tears flowing, reconciliation taking place.