You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” ~Indira Gandhi
Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,
Today I want to remind you that unity is SO important...even more now than ever before.
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD. ~Isaiah 2:2-5
Weapons do not have to be physical or verbal. I've learned through recent years that silence can also be used as a weapon. A very brutal one. Perhaps even worse than verbal. I am guilty, in the past, of having sometimes been on the sending end of this situation. I also know all too well what it's like to be on the receiving end.
One of my textbooks in college,on interpersonal communication, discussed how silence can speak and mean more than words:
"Adults, as well as children, have used the silent treatment in virtually every society throughout history as a powerful tool to express displeasure and for social control. We all know intuitively that communication--the company of others--is one of the most basic human needs and that lack of contact is among the cruelest punishments a person can suffer"(Looking Out, Looking In).
This textbook also has a Newsweek article about a military cadet who, due to having to endure this type of punishment, lost 26 lbs. I highly recommend reading the article: The Silencing. (Sorry, the only place I could find it online was on someone else's blog :-)
Years ago I witnessed something that broke my heart. Actually, it still breaks my heart. My family and other close friends gradually noticed another close friend drifting farther and farther away from our close knit circle. This person started avoiding quite a few people and gradually quit coming to our church. No one had a clue why. And I'm pretty sure just about everyone within this circle wondered if they had done something wrong to offend this person. Eventually it was discovered who had done the offending, but even they honestly had no idea what they had done. They went to this person, told them they were sorry for anything they may have ever done to hurt them, and tried to make amends....Years later, I know very little about this person or their family. They still attend church somewhere, at least I know that their children, who I once was extremely close to, do. But what was originally an awesome team of leaders being used together in a specific ministry was almost destroyed by the harboring of bad feelings, instead of the addressing of them. To my knowledge, the hurt individual has yet to be back on speaking terms with the offender, and the offender never did get a specific answer as to what they had done wrong. I reiterate that this breaks my heart. I love both of these people very much.
The Bible says that this would happen in the Endtimes:
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another ~Matthew 24:10
The devil's greatest tactic is to provoke disunity among the brethren. If he can do this, he doesn't have to worry about anything else, because "a house divided against itself cannot stand" (Matthew 12:25).
So, while we should be careful not to offend...
Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! ~Luke 17:1
We should be just as careful to keeps our hearts in the right place, so we are not offended.
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. ~Psalm 119:165
So, in conclusion, I challenge all of you to a truce.
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a truce is:
1)a suspension of fighting especially of considerable duration by agreement of opposing forces
2)a respite especially from a disagreeable or painful state or action
I want to be the first to say that if I have offended you in anyway, I am genuinely sorry. I do not want there to be one Apostolic on this planet that I could not comfortably sit down to have dinner or a cup of coffee with. As the song goes.. "I need you. You need me. We're all a part of God's body. Stand with me. Agree with me. We're all a part of God's body. It is His will that every need be supplied. You are important to me. I need you to survive."
If there is someone you're at odds with, whether due to offenses or judgments, make things right with them. Don't just sugar coat the issue or avoid it and move on. That doesn't fix anything. Work through it or it will still be remaining ever present years later. We are the FAMILY of God. More so than even in earthly families, we are in this together, and we are in this forever.
Drop your weapons & pick up your tools. We've got work to do.