Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.
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1 Kings 15:25-17:24
The things she had said to me were harsh and without substance; a flinging of angry words meant to hurt. But I knew it was her only way to reconnect with someone else who was mad at both of us. Nothing binds people together quite like a common enemy.
I didn’t want a fight, and I tried to clear it up on the spot. But emotions were high and hearts were hard, and they left me standing on my porch wondering how things had gone so bad so quickly.
I replayed the scene dozens of times that day, and the next. On the third day, as I was about to replay it yet again, God intervened with a verse. As much as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
I thought about that afternoon and wondered if I had lit a match to that kindling. I didn’t think so, but I wanted to be sure. Show me where I went wrong, I asked.
The verse stayed with me over the next week. That soft whisper was my constant companion. As much as it depends on you …
About a week later, with the feud still simmering but silent, that verse was replaced with another. Love covers a multitude of sins, the Holy Spirit reminded me. And for the next week, that was the verse in my head.
The next week, it changed again. It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance.
The next week — a full month since the fight — the loudest whisper of all spoke firmly to my heart. Let your gentleness be evident to all.
Those words bathed my heart and my thoughts. All through that day, and every one that followed, the admonition sang in my ears.
And then in the fifth week, unexpectedly, the three of us ran into each other. It was clear from their expression and their wariness that they weren’t happy to see me and were ready to repeat the scene if need be. And for the flash of an instant, my indignation rose. But before my flesh had its way; before I could voice the question in my mind: How could you say those things to me? the Holy Spirit swept that question away and brought His lesson home. As much as it depends on you, be at peace with all men … love covers a multitude of sin … it is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance … let your gentleness be evident to all …
The power of those words filled me, and I suddenly knew what God had been working in me all those weeks. He overrode my flesh, and showed me a better way. I could only think of one thing worth saying.
”I love you.” I put my arms around her, and felt the anger leave her body.
I cried, and she cried. And it was over.