Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 1 Pt 3:8
Father I come to you this morning with a burden for broken relationships. This has been heavy on my heart for awhile now and the weight doesn’t seem to get any lighter. I know I’m not alone either. You made us to be in relationship with you and with others and when either is out of place the pain can be awful.
Lord, I worship you as the Triune Relational God this morning, thinking of the perfect union you have within yourself – Father, Son and Spirit – a Oneness that you have always shared and desire to share with us. You did not need anyone. You had all the love one could ever hope for, so much in fact that it was too much for anyone but you to contain. What an incredible love it is that you would wish to extend it to rebels like me. Father, you are the most tender hearted one of all. You did not repay evil with evil, but you sent your Son as a sacrifice of grace, with unity in mind, to make sinners into sons and daughters. Jesus you humbled yourself, even to death on a cross, bearing my sin in your body on a tree, that I might die to sin and live to righteousness. What an incredible example of love and what an effective act of affection to make us capable of loving you and one another.
I confess God, that in light of this wonderful, transforming truth, I sense the failure of my own brokenness all the more. I feel the fracture in my relationships. My pride and selfishness squint into the face of your radiant humility. I have not had unity with others in mind, so much as a priority of self-preservation and protection. I blow it more than I care to admit. Putting myself first, I do not consider well enough the hurts and heartaches of others. I am often unsympathetic in my actions and overly supportive of my own cause. When attacked I want to attack. When wronged I want to wrong. When hurt I want to harm. I am guilty of being quick to judge and slow to forgive; fast to speak and sluggish to listen. Unsurprisingly, I seldom believe I’m in the wrong. Lord, I struggle to image your peace making, people loving, self-suffering enduring love. I tend to blame others before examining my own heart. I conveniently overlook my own sin in favor of exposing theirs. I have often withheld forgiveness in attempt to regain a sense of lost control. And in all of this I reject the very gospel I excitedly embraced and desire daily to enjoy. Lord I need your mercies anew today for sure.
Thank you Father for your kind rebuke. Thank you for pointing out the backpack full of relational rocks upon my back. It’s a hard but caring lesson; to be reminded of your love through discipline. That’s exactly what a great Dad does when they care for their kids. I am reminded of your grace again today. Of how you do not look at my failures and condemn me, but see me in your Son and smile. You are not holding my sins against me; you have put them all on Christ. Jesus you know I am a relational wreck, that’s precisely why you came – to reconcile us into renewed relationship with God and redeem our flawed relationships with one another.
Spirit, help me to believe and accept the forgiveness and love I have as a child of God. Aid me in being more aware of my unhealthy ways of relating to you and others. Would you keep my eyes fixed on the cross and help me to see every relationship in light of the gospel. Lord, I know I’m not the only one. There are many suffering today from relational wounds of the past, operating out of present hurts and despairing of what tomorrow holds. Jesus I pray for those facing struggling friendships, breakdowns in marriage, difficulties with co-workers, tensions in homes and turmoil in their souls. Love us into gospel hope, and lead us into renewed unity. For your glory, Lord, I ask that you grant us tender hearts, humble minds and brotherly love that the world might witness the living God at work and our hearts would be overjoyed with lavish grace. Amen.