Welcome: An Introduction

Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Birth Pains of Reconciliation

When someone criticizes or disagrees with you,
a small ant of hatred and antagonism
is born in your heart. If you do not squash
that ant at once, it might grow into a snake,
or even a dragon.
 ~ Rumi
When I read that passage from Rumi (a sufi philosopher) I was reminded of these verses in Scripture:

Ephesians 4:26-47
26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

I'd like to think that I practice what those verses preach, but I have to admit, I don't always. There has been more than one occasion where an argument will occur and be unsettled by the time I drift off into another realm of consciousness. Waking becomes an uncomfortable endeavor as a tinge of guilt usually rises in the morning to meet my conscience, greeting it with great mirth and then infecting it with rationalizations as to why reconciliation is not important, usually in the form of distractions and pride. I'm too busy to call that particular person, or wow, that person said some hurtful things, I should apologize but he/she really crossed the line. Pride is an extremely effective barrier that comes between us and making peace with others, and experiencing peace within ourselves.

Oftentimes what starts as a small misunderstanding or disagreement between us and others ends up becoming a bitter fued as the small festering wound that another can cause our heart to experience becomes a raging infection fed by time, and our own illusions and egos.

Rumi warns us to stomp out these feelings of hate, dislike, conflict before they get out of hand and end up manifesting themselves into much larger forces within us, causing us great angst and turmoil. Such illusions, for that's what they really are, they aren't real but false and grossly altered versions of reality, lead sadly to the destruction of relationships that might have otherwise offered us much light and joy.   Scripture echos this by implying that we must do this immediately, not letting the sun go down before reconciliation is made, lest the devil take a foothold.

Jesus died to reconcile us to God. He was able to forgive even those who pounded the nails into his flesh, hanging him up on the cross to die a horrific and very human death full of suffering and pain. It is because of his sacrifice that our sins are forgiven, and how many they are! I think of all the things I've done wrong and how God has forgiven me each time I come before him in humility. Certainly, through Jesus, God teaches us to forgive and there is true liberation in forgiving others. It's a win-win concept really. We create peace in our lives between others and remove the barriers of bitterness in our own hearts to experience more fully the presence and peace of God.

Jesus emphasized the importance of reconciliation. Not only should we try to deal with the seeds of hatred and irritation that others put in our own hearts but those we put into other's as well.

Matthew 5:23-24

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

It is hard to come before God with a heart that is clean and pure when it is clouded with controversy and conflict. So it's my suggestion that we clean up our hearts and seek out those who have caused us angst and unease, anger and frustration and forgive them. And perhaps even more difficult...for those who we've wronged, ask that they forgive us. It isn't easy, but it is something we are all called to do and it will bring us and others much peace.

I know recently there was someone that brought me much pain and it took me to swallow a lot of pride to come and reveal to them my own contribution towards our conflict, ask forgiveness and also accept their apology. Life's often painful, but so is giving birth...and any mother that has given birth will say that the pain was well worth the new life that now rests in their arms. Let's be authors of new beginnings that speak of love and light and of compassion, built on the framework of reconciliation and hope. Let's take joy in the birth pains of reconcilation for the new life it produces in our hearts and in our relationships.

I would love to read your thoughts, please leave them in the comments section :)


  1. hmmm... focusing on the light, on forgiveness and reconciliation... it takes real humility... i always remember st. therese of the child Jesus, who was very much aware of the workings of the Spirit in her soul...

    first thing we do is react...and it's normal... the sin comes when we act on our anger and hurt others as well...

    allow God's Spirit enter your soul... and give you light... and yes, fill you with compassion... allow the Lord to become your "mirror of perfection"...

    my spiritual director always asks me to look at the direction i'm heading to and not on his finger :P... that meant look past behind my brother/sister's sin... and love...

    will be sharing more :P

  2. I'm really starting to appreciate Rumi and it is all thanks to you :)

    Very difficult though because not everyone is able to control their emotions in this way and fill themselves with love to combat hurt and negativity. In experience often the people who cause hurt to you will continue to do so if you just forgive or let them, you are better to remove them from your life than seek them out and show them forgiveness but I do understand what you mean - it's about removing the tainted from your heart and being pure.

    Great sentiments and thoughts - really enjoyed reading this.

  3. Jessica, your words are words of truth. It is such a difficult task for some to accomplish...getting rid of the anger, hate, conflict, etc. Sometimes, it is easier to hold onto it and complain.
    I have tried to make sure that I never go to bed angry. God has truly blessed me with a very even nature. I do not get angry very often, and if I do, I'm over it within minutes. I am truly appreciative of this because I watch people get angry so often I wonder what their life must be like. I cannot empathize with them. Only be an ear to listen.
    Thanks for another wonderful post:)

  4. Hi Jess:
    Wonderful words to be guided by. It can be difficult have conversations where you must confront your wrongdoing. But ya know what? The longer you hold off on having that discussion, the harder it gets. If you can admit your faults to someone you wronged, it's weight off both of you.

    We should all have one person in our lives who will except us despite all our faults, who will have the horribly difficult conversations and once everything is out in the open be able to move forward. If you're fortunate to have someone like that in your life, hold on w/all your might, because those people don't come around often!

    Speak up IMMEDIATELY when you've done wrong. The longer you wait, the more that seed of resentment will grow.

    Be Happy! Be Well! Be Positive
    Blessings to you.

  5. The path of forgiveness is not an easy path. But it begins with forgiving the self or others with small steps. Sometimes I feel we are put into those circumstances to feel and understand what the flip side of love, smiles, happiness are. We take these emotions for granted and rarely value it.

  6. Rumi's words are so very true and I aspire to live up to the standards of him and Christ. Too often I let my pride, anger, and rashness undermine situations with friends and family. Great words and thoughts for all of us to live by!!!

  7. Matthew 5:23-24 is a powerful case for reconciliation. We all manage to rationalize our lack of willingness to go that 2nd mile don’t we? There’s always a person who rubs us the wrong way, gets under our skin, or gets on our nerves (to use all the cliché’s that come to mind). And the easy way out is to “dis” that person. And yet, God seems to deliberately put these people in our paths to process us. That’s the only reason I can conclude that they’re there :)
    Here’s quote that I remind myself (and my daughter) of frequently.
    "Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die"

  8. Melissa..beautiful thoughts...I like how you put it..to allow my Lord to become my "mirror of perfection"..

  9. I agree that it is hard to receive blessings when your heart is closed in anger, so it is best to forgive. Forgiveness does as much for the one doing the forgiving as it does for the forgiven, if not more. But also, depending on the circumstances, that doesn't mean you have to maintain a relationship with that person.

  10. SJ...thanks for your comment. I think it's important to note (from my perspective) forgiving someone doesn't mean you just let the behavior that wounded you in the first place to continue after you forgive them. You're right...sometimes certain people can just be poison and prove toxic to our lives..those are people with their own issues that they, alone, need to deal with. One can forgive, show love and compassion and then move on, away from any harmful relationship.

  11. Mary, so glad you enjoyed the post..and so glad that you don't struggle with harboring anger and resentment..! So many fall into that trap and it's great that you live in freedom in that area. I like what you said about being an open ear to those that you know suffer with such things...that's a beautiful thing, I oftentimes think the greatest gift we can give is the gift of self..of compassionate attentive listening.

  12. Christopher..thanks so much for your thoughts! I agree with them! And it's so true...the longer we hold on to bitter feelings of resentment and anger the harder it is to begin the process of reconciliation and healing. It's much better to just come clean with such things and live in freedom!

  13. Savira..I love how you always cause me to look at things in a different way...what profound reflections..thank you!

  14. David..thank you so much for your comment! I fall into that trap too from time to time, especially with people who aren't too nice and who I can't really avoid! God has a great way of teaching humilty and patience!

  15. Debra...Thank you so much for your reflections. I think that's true...God intentionally does put people in our paths to test us, to help shape us. I loved the quote!

  16. Sweepy...great thoughts, I agree! We are called to forgive, and that brings much peace and healing, but it doesn't mean we have to stay in a relationship or involved in a person that does us harm. Thank you for your comment :)

  17. The world will be a better place if we just learn how to forgive each other's trespasses just like how the Great Almighty up there ever forgive us when we commit sinful acts which are not according to His will.... Forget all grudges as they say and live life in the Light of God and life will be just extra blissful.... Thanks Jessica...:)

  18. It's hard sometimes for forgive ... even harder to forget... I've had to forgive someone I shouldn't have had to even think about forgiving. It was so hard to forget even after I forgave... I didn't hold a grudge etc... I don't know... touchy subject for me... sometimes it's just easier for me to not think about it... I have always believed that how I have handled it was the way god wanted me too.

  19. It is not always easy to forgive, especially when it really hurts. It is a long and difficult path and sometimes take years. The feeling of forgiveness is liberating!

  20. How ironic that I read this right now. I just had the most upsetting conversation with someone and I still feel the hurt and anger. I guess all I could do is really pray for this person to forgive me for whatever I have done wrong in the past. Great post Jessica.

  21. Jorie...so true :) Thanks for your thoughts, they are filled with truth. ~blessings

  22. Debbie, I can understand, sometimes forgiving can be one of the hardest things to do but oftentimes the benefits outweigh the sacrifice and also do us a lot more good, sending us healing to move on...forgivng doesn't mean we have to accept what was done to us, but it helps us move on from being burdened by it.
    ~peace and blessings

  23. It's one of the hardest lessons to learn. So very often when we argue, we fail to see the bigger picture. There becomes a focus upon what is not right and forgetting what is good in the relationship. As the scripture says, do not give the devil a foothold.

  24. Nelieta...sorry about your conversation :( You have a good idea-to pray that that person forgives you, and perhaps that you can forgive that person as well. Just know that no matter what you did or said, it's already forgiven by God if you've asked him. Thank you for stopping by :) ~blessings

  25. Another great post Jessica. When I was pastoring I was hurt deeply by people who portrayed themselves as our closest friends. I'm not happy to admit that even today, several years later, I still hold a lot of anger and bitterness toward them. You're right, it is difficult to overcome, but essential. Someday soon I will forgive them, contact them, and tell them I love them.

  26. Bill, thanks so much for commenting, I am glad you enjoyed the post :) It is hard to forgive when people wound us, especially when it comes to wounding us in our spiritual walks when we put our full trust in them. I believe I have some future conversations that await me as well where things need to be cleared up. May God give us the grace towards others that hurt us that He has towards us.
    Thanks so much for your comment. I love how honest you always are. ~Blessings