Pr. 18:19: “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle.”
During this season of family gatherings, this verse stands out. Not everyone’s families get together in happy, peaceful, harmonious ways. There are times when contentions, offenses, and pain are also present. Sometimes it is an unspoken expectation that during a holiday the contention will cease, and so when it doesn’t, it can hurt even more than usual.
Sadly, there are some people for whom forgiveness never seems to be an option. We cannot speak for them; however, we can decide for ourselves how we will respond. If there are contentions in your family, I am sorry. You may not be met with friendliness or the opportunity to move in and make it all go away. So, what can you do?
Continue to pray. Continue to walk in love. Continue to walk with integrity, being the person you claim to be in Christ. Continue to trust in the Lord and His faithfulness in your life and the lives of those with whom the contentions exist.
Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him”; lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me. Ps. 13
David wrote this Psalm when it seems he was experiencing similar emotions with those who would not forgive and relent.
We have the Lord and Savior on our side. We have the One who shows Himself strong for us. We have the one who keeps us safe when our trust is in Him.
It is hard when others do not like us nor will offer forgiveness; however, Jesus said that the servant is not greater than his Master. The world hated Jesus before it hated us, and if they persecuted Him, they will also persecute us. (John 15:18) Jesus knows about rejection, hatred, contention, and betrayal. He’s been there. He is able to offer aid to us if that is the case in our lives, as well.
We cannot force others to forgive or love us, but we can walk in the knowledge that we have a High Priest who will comfort us and offer mercy. He is always on our side.
If you happen to be the one who has not been forgiving or relenting, perhaps this is the Christmas when you can offer that gift to someone as imperfect as you. Everyone needs forgiveness, which is why Jesus came as our Savior.
Whatever the case, I pray that the Comforter will be able to offer you peace this Christmas season. The Lord is faithful and does not allow the righteous soul to famish. If you allow it, He will give you all that you need.
Praying for you,