1. Tom was one of the best friends I had ever had, we had so much in common. We were both from Dutch background, both accountants, both attended the same church and served in consistory together and even lived across the street from each other. Mostly, though, our friendship was so beautiful because we both had a deep love for Jesus Christ and we both sought to serve him and live our lives for hint. We even attended Bible Institute together at a local church.
2. The Psalmist says how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity. It is like precious oil poured on the head. Our friendship felt that good.
3. Some very controversial issues came up in consistory. Tom felt very strong about a few things and disagreements arose between him and the some others in consistory. - - he was very troubled and at times he would share his feelings with me in confidence.. Matters got worse and soon Tom had little to do with consistory and the church.
4. As an elder, I was part of the discussions which we had in trying to deal with Tom. It was difficult. Many of the other elders were also close friends with Tom. I tried to approach him but he wanted nothing to do with me. Soon I felt totally rejected by him. I wrote him a letter but received no response.
5. Soon he left the church and went elsewhere.
6. It had been almost a year since we had had a meaningful talk together. I was hurting as were his other friends in the church. He had taken us out of his life just as one rips a page out of a book. I knew that I would soon be moving to go to seminary and felt that we had to talk. I just couldn’t leave wondering why he had hurt me so much. Had I done something wrong? I agonized over what I should do. I had tried to get together in the past but all my efforts had been rejected? Why should I try again?
7. Finally I called him, and to my surprise, he agreed to go out for lunch with me. During that lunch, I learned that he had thought that I had betrayed his trust. He thought I had disclosed to the other elders those things he had told me in confidence. I explained that I had not betrayed his trust. However, I did disagree with some of his views and his actions.
8. While we talked, it became easy to see how, over the years, many things that had happened were misinterpreted by us - mostly because of our feelings and mistrust. A lot of things came out into the open. Things did not get solved completely, but we had a better understanding of each other. Though there were still hurts, we could still feel love toward each other and pray together.
9. Now, as I look back, I can see how, the longer we did not communicate, the more we misunderstood each other and the further apart we grew.
10. The difficult thing I had wrestled with was how to get I together. I felt he had wronged me. Should I go to him or should I wait until he came to me and acknowledged his wrong? Some people told me that, since he had hurt me, he should take the first step to call me. Somehow, though, I questioned whether that was the right attitude.
1. This morning we look at two Scripture passages that refer to broken relationships.
a. In Matthew, Jesus teaches us that if our brother has something against us, we should go to that brother and to be reconciled with him. If we have sinned against our brother, we are to go to the one whom we have wronged
b. In the Acts passage, those who have been sinned against are urged to forgive and encourage the one who has wronged them.
2. Considering these two Scripture passages, who should take the first step? The offender or the one offended against? The answer is both. When we are in a broken relationship with someone we are to go to the other person in that relationship and seek to be reconciled with him.
3. In Matthew, Jesus indicates that broken relationships are very serious. Not only is murder subject to judgement, but so is anger. The feelings which we have toward one another are subject to the judgement of God. Jesus came to reconcile us to God but that reconciliation also requires that we be reconciled or made right with each other
4. For that reason, when we come before God’s altar with our offerings or worship, we must first be right with our fellow Christians.