Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mended Friendships

"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." John 15:11&12

God never intended for Christian brothers and sisters to part ways when they have aught against each other. "Let brotherly love continue." Heb. 13:1. His plan is always restoration, although it is not always the easy way. It is so much easier to walk away from the relationship and pretend it never existed. When this happens, the hurt never goes away, it leaves you heartbroken and empty. God wants our lives to be full of joy, and to do that we must love one another as He loves us. His love is unconditional, and He has promised never to leave us, or forsake us.

God made me aware of this truth last summer after a week of messages during our annual Jubilee. He worked on my heart every night, showing me things that I needed to get right, and by the end of the week He had finally got down to the root of the problem, an unforgiving spirit. There was a message about three magic words that will mend any relationship. My ears perked up, for I had some friends who I loved dearly that I hadn't spoken to in years. I listened intently and wrote everything the preacher said down in my Bible. What were the three magic words? "I forgive you." No. "I love you." No. "Please fogive me." Nope. "I HAVE SINNED!" Hard words to say to anyone, but at this point God had softened my heart and put me in a place where I was ready to do whatever it took.

Jacob and Esau parted ways over a stolen birthright, but in the end, Jacob went back to Esau, expecting to find him still angry and full of bitterness. As Jacob approached, ready for the worst, the Bible says, "And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept." Gen. 33:4. This is exactly how I was greeted by my old friends. Arms open wide for a hug and tears shed as past hurts were finally put to rest. My heart has never been so full of joy and contentment. I thank my God daily for reaching way down deep and yanking out that big ole' root of bitterness from my life. He alone is worthy to be praised!

"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Eph. 4:32.

I do not have a picture of sweet Amanda yet, for she is all the way in North Carolina. Although we have not been reunited in person...our hearts have been reunited and I am looking forward to the day when I can hug on her neck and tell her how much I have missed her.


Dad said...

Very moving testimony of God's grace in your life and your relationship with your friends. Love and mercy, Dad

Mom said...

Tearfully read... such a sweet spirit of reconciliation!
I love that!

Hazel Eye Beauty said...

Very touching,,sniff sniff, I am greatfull God has worked in both of our lives/hearts. Bitterness is an evil undenyable web, that only the Lord can untangle. I've missed you too, but hey you could have put a more flattering pic of me...gross!

Mrs. Renfro said...

Haha..at least I cropped your hands out of the picture ;)

Sally Ann said...

Thats GREAT! I loved reading that!
And the pictures look fine!

One Happy Family said...

Loved reading that post. It brought tears to my eyes and made my heart hurt for all the time lost. - But God is so good to have brought us four back together knit as sisters in Christ as we should be. Love you Alice - I always have - and even when I didn't want to admit it - I always missed you. You are my sister - love you!

Mrs. Renfro said...

Charrissa~ I was tearful as I wrote it, thinking of all the time we missed out on each others companionship as well. I missed Ethan and Ellie as babies :(
I love you too, my friend.

~~Deby said...

Oh what a sweet reunion in Heaven will be.....I think you have had a taste of it on earth...that is just too cool, Alice.