by Eddie Snipes

This content is part of a series.

Restoring Relationships (18 of 21)
Series: The Promise of a Sound Mind
Eddie Snipes
Proverbs 18:19

A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a castle.

Conflict is a part of life. It's how we handle conflict that impacts our relationships. We offend others just as often as we are offended, but we only notice what affects our personal feelings. The scriptures instruct us not to be an offense to anyone, but as with most commands, we will fall short more times than we'd like to admit.

When it comes to offenses, our responsibility is twofold. We are called to reconcile and we are called to forgive. Consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:23-24

23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember your brother has something against you,
24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Notice the focus of this passage. We are the offender. When we are seeking the Lord, He will often remind us of these offenses and embittered relationships, then call us to reconcile. Not every person will forgive, but it is our responsibility to seek reconciliation. And we do so by taking ownership of the offense and doing what is in our power to make it right. It shouldn't be difficult, but human nature has a hard time accepting personal faults.

When we are the offended party, the Bible gives us clear instructions on this as well. Look at Matthew 18:15

15 Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.

The passages we are discussing mention brothers, but the principle is for all. This scripture goes on to discuss how to respond if your brother doesn't reconcile, but I won't get into this here. The point is that instead of seeking reconciliation, we have the tendency of harboring secret bitterness.

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