July 13, 2009

The Tough Trail

Proverbs 6:16-19

“Go and be reconciled …”
Matthew 5:24


Estranged relationships grieve the Lord deeply. “There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him,” says our reading for today. The climax of that list is “dissension in the community.” Of all the things that God finds abominable, dissension or discord is one of the worst. God created us to be in relationship first with him and secondly with one another. As a result, when our bond with someone is bruised or broken, we stand outside of the relationship of peace that the Lord wants for us.

Just before the apostle Paul described the fruit of the Spirit in his letter to the Galatians, he cited a number of attitudes and actions that come from our sinful nature. Among them are “discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy” (Galatians 5:20-21). Rather than creating peace, these habits and patterns of our old nature threaten to alienate us from our friends, our coworkers, and even our family.

Acting in humility, seeking forgiveness, burying pride, and reaching out to people who have hurt us is no easy task. Philip Keller wrote, “The path of peace … is a tough trail tramped out with humble heart and lowly spirit.” But that path is possible when we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in cultivating peace within us and in all our actions as an expression of God’s love.

By your Spirit, Lord, help us to walk the often difficult path of peace. May we be agents of your grace in the lives of the people around us, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

About the author — Shawn Brix

Rev. Shawn Brix has served as pastor in several Ontario churches. He and his wife, Jenny, have three children.

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