Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2010
Scripture: Deuteronomy 30:19; 2 Samuel 3:6-11, 21:1-9; Mark 13:13.
Just two days ago America celebrated Thanksgiving Day and the kick-off of the holiday season. For many it was a time of basking in the warmth of family and friends. But for others, it may have been a time of emotional pain due to unresolved conflicts—the licking of old wounds that reinforce resentments.
“The holidays are fertile ground for unresolved family conflicts to rear their ugly head. Emotions can run high, which can foster lousy and hurtful family dynamics” says life coach Chris Wucherer, in her article “Reconciliation After Betrayal”.1 She adds that, “Sometimes the spirit of the holiday can get lost in the spam of everyday living. Over the course of a lifetime, most of us experience some form of betrayal and broken trust. Betrayals and broken trust come in small and large packages. Feelings are hurt, needs are unmet, hopes are dashed.”
Staying in a place of resentment hurts not only the other person involved, but it also hurts you. And in time it can take its toll on you emotionally, physically and spiritually. If you are at odds with someone this holiday season—whether it’s your fault or theirs—how do you begin to mend the relationship? ImprovingYourWorld.com offers these helpful suggestions:2
First, make sure you realize that if you wait too long, there may come a time when it’s too late to reconcile. You or the other person could have an accident or become ill and die. As unlikely as this may seem, it is indeed a possibility. And when it’s too late, nothing can be done.
Second, decide how big the grudge is. Was it a little “tiff” that you can just let go of and possibly agree to disagree? Or was the conflict a major event that likely needs some intervention? You decide what is needed. If you were wronged, don’t expect the other person to come to you with an apology. Be the mature one and begin the process by making the phone call, writing the letter, or asking the person to meet with you in order to listen to each other.
Third, start the reconciliation process right away. Yes, time might eventually heal things. But why waste the time that you could be having in a restored relationship? Care more about the person than the blame. You have the right to tell them that what they said or did hurt you. But once you’ve each had the chance to express your views and apologize, move forward in your relationship, not backwards.
King David learned the importance of reconciliation with the Gibeonites, with Rizpah, and with God. A three-year famine was taking its toll on David and his people. When he went to God for answers, God told him that the famine was the result of the bloodshed Saul had caused Gibeonites in his attempt to wrongfully annihilate them. Wanting to reconcile, David asked the Gibeonites, “What do you want me to do for you?” They answered him, “As for the man who destroyed us and plotted against us so that we have been decimated and have no place anywhere in Israel, let seven of his male descendants be given to us to be killed and their bodies exposed before the Lord at Gibeah of Saul—the Lord’s chosen one.” Whether or not this request shocked David, he granted it.
Two of the seven sons killed were sons of Rizpah, Saul’s former concubine. Along with the others, their bodies hung exposed on a hill for all to see. With the true heart of a mother, Rizpah stayed near their bodies from the beginning of harvest until the rains began, keeping birds and wild animals away.
Hearing of her love and devotion, David now made the move to reconcile with Rizpah through giving her sons, as well as Saul and Jonathan, a proper burial. It was only then that David and his people were reconciled with God, and the famine ended.
Reconciliation takes action. It won’t happen unless someone makes the first move. Why not let that someone be you?