Recently, I wronged a close friend of mine. As time went on, I started to realize that I had wronged this person, and instead of apologizing and making it right, I thought if I ignored it, it would go away. The result is that it got worse, and became overwhelming for me. Finally, as I was praying to the Lord to help me with the anxiety, I realized that there was a clear answer: I needed to step out in faith to make right the wrong I had done. I was terrified, and it was difficult, but I called my friend, explained how I had wronged them, explained why it was wrong, apologized, and explained how I was going to do differently, starting with that phone call. Despite the anxiety I was feeling, a peace and a feeling of closure came upon me, and I knew I was walking within the will of God in obedience to Him. And the conversation went really well.
I don't share this story with you to toot my own horn, but rather to highlight a couple truths. The first, is that we are not sinners who sin, but saints who sin. If we have been made righteous in Jesus Christ, sin cannot touch our identity in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (ESV). The truth is that we are still going to sin, but our sin cannot touch our identity in Christ. We are new creations. YOU are a new creation.
The second truth is that obedience is hard, but we are ministers of reconciliation and obeying God is ALWAYS best. The next two verses in 2 Corinthians 5, verses 18 and 19, say, "All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation." (ESV). God initiated reconciliation between us and Him through Jesus, and we can follow this example by pointing people to reconciliation through the Gospel and by reconciling with those who have wronged us and who we have wronged.
In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, in verses 23 and 24, Jesus teaches in regards to hate and anger, "So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." (ESV). If you look at the original Greek, and I don't know Greek but somebody smarter than me pointed this out, the first usage of the word "offering" is in a tense that means a one time offering. However, after the reconciliation, the second usage of the word "offering" is an ongoing and continuous action. What this means is that Jesus was highlighting the importance of reconciling with a brother or sister above presenting an offering to God.
The third truth I wanted to highlight is that you are going to fall short. But Scripture says, "For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity." (Proverbs 24:16 ESV). Seven is, Biblically, a number symbolic of completion. And we are made righteous in Jesus Christ. So what this means is that when we fall, even to the point of completion, we can rise again and get right back up and make things right. It may not be easy, and that brings me to my last point. We have each other.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says, "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him-a threefold cord is not quickly broken." (ESV).
Remember, you have friends and mentors, brothers and sisters in Christ, who are walking with you. Don't try and do the Christian life alone, and remember who is walking with you.
A beautiful winter view of Sentinel Lodge :)