Have you ever told someone that you would do something for them, only to forget, or find circumstances crowding in- making it difficult to fulfill your commitment?
I had that happen this week. I told another Mom that we would get our kids together, and I completely forgot. I didn’t call until almost 24 hours later. I felt so bad, and I called as soon as I remembered and apologized- but that doesn’t erase the fact that I failed to be faithful to a commitment that I made to call her and get together.
Things happen, unexpected things- and sometimes we have a good reason for being unable to follow through with a commitment- but other times I think (and speaking mostly of myself here) selfish reasons keep us from making that extra effort to reach out to others.
Then why do we say we will do things in the first place? Is it simply that it feels good to say that we will be there, but when the rubber meets the road- we just don’t want to make the effort?
I have felt convicted about this in my own life- and am trying to no longer say- I will be there, or I can do that- unless I mean it.
Sharing life with others isn’t easy- we all have people in our life we don’t get along with- people who rub us the wrong way. But esp. within the body of Christ, unity suffers because we are holding onto negative perceptions of people.
For example, when we are not able to fulfill a commitment, we make excuses in our mind and find those valid. But what about the person who we are not there to help or do not call back?
Do they know why we didn’t follow through?
Do we hold a grudge when people fail to be there when they say they will? Are you holding onto anger because of something someone said?
These things cause rifts in the church- soon some people won’t talk to other people, and the injuries pile up only because we fail to seek unity- to make it a priority- to foster it- to protect and guard it- knowing that when we stand together we are indeed stronger.
Ephesians 4:1-6, 14-16, 25-32
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 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. 28Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
We are members of one body- I encourage you to read all of Ephesians 4- it is a wonderful passage about the church and the different gifts God has given and His desire for us to be unified in love and purpose so that our ministry will be effective.
At BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) we talked about the seven most essential things that we must hold to- There is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all (see verses 4-5 above).
I pray that we as the church will pursue peace and unity with each other. Take the initiative to bind up wounded relationships- seek forgiveness and reconciliation. Be a peacemaker.
Forgive people when they make insensitive remarks or fail to follow through on commitments- that doesn’t mean not addressing the wrong- which in some cases you may need to do- but however they receive it- let us let go of it- to preserve unity and seek peace.
How are you using your gifts to strengthen the church?
How can you seek unity this week?