It is not a secret – as human beings we all fail and people fail us. How do we deal with failures and hurts determines our relationships. The Bible has such an important and relevant message for us and how we can live joyfully and build healthy relationships. Find out why Jesus told us:
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9 NIV)
Unforgiveness Builds Walls
Not all unforgiveness issues and grudges create anger, tension and animosity. Instead, they may create distance as people build an emotional wall between themselves and others. As time goes on the wall gets higher, thicker and covered with ivy and moss. Eventually the wall has been around so long that people live with it between them with very little thought as to the reason for the wall or the reason to tear the wall down.
Robert Louis Stevenson, the famed author of Treasure Island, tells the story of two unmarried sisters who shared a single room. As people who live in close quarters are apt to do, they had a falling out with each other. Their dispute was over a theological issue. The dispute was so intense that, instead of agreeing to differ, they simply didn’t speak to each other ever again.
The division between them became so bad the two sisters drew a line with chalk down the middle of their room to mark off their respective territories. They continued to exist, (they were existing, not living) in the same room together, but never said a word to each other again.
Each of the sisters endured the cold shoulder and silence of the other over the years even as friends came around or as they ate meals. The sisters lived out the remainder of their lives in this miserable condition.
At graveside services, funerals and memorials I almost always encourage people to forgive one another, to not build walls and to tear down walls. Life is too short and too precious to exist separated from others.
‘If you’ve drawn a line on the floor in chalk,’ I would encourage you to forgive and to erase the line. You will only experience health, and remove bitterness and grudges when you forgive. Jesus said, “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27-28 TNIV)