Recently, my son pointed out to me that a light in his room wasn’t working. I went to his room and noticed that if I flipped the “on/off” switch, the switch didn’t stay in the “off” position, it just clicked back to the “on” position. I figured it was just an old switch that needed to be replaced. I then, found the circuit breaker to turn off that room’s electricity and removed the switch and brought it to my local Ace Hardware store.
While there, a friendly and knowledgeable manager showed me where all the circuits were located and found one that matched mine. I mentioned to him that I couldn’t tell which wires in my wall were black and which was white because they were both covered up in the same colored fabric. He said not to worry. I could hook either of the wires up to the circuit and it would make the flow of electricity happen. Makes sense.
You know, I think relationships are like this as well. How we handle conflict is like the “on/off” switch on our wall. If I hurt someone close to me, I have just flipped the “off” switch in our relationship. Like a light switch in the “off” position that has just broken the flow of electric current, so too, if I have said or done something hurtful to a friend, I break the “relationship” connection between us.
I think of Jesus’ mentioning the 2 greatest commandments: Matthew 22:37-40 (esv):
So, as I think first about the greatest commandment to love God, I have realized that at some time in each of our lives, there is a need to recognize that due to our rebellious and selfish ways, we have been living apart from God. We each need to be reconciled to Him. Unfortunately, no matter how many good things we may try to do, nothing will remove the stain of the sins we have committed. “Houston, we have a problem”.
Fortunately, God dealt with our problem, by solving it Himself. The Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ in to the world to live a perfect life and thus make it possible for Him to die as a substitute for each of us. He took our sins upon Himself. As we understand this, we humbly come to Him looking for His forgiveness. What has happened in all this?–our relationship with God has been restored. There is a connection now of His life flowing from Him to us. The circuit is working.
However, as we move on from that point and do life, there will come a time when we will do something sinful. The full power of our relationship with Him has been weakened. We are still His children, but the full joy and power of our relationship has become inconsistent–the flow of His life working in and through us has become interrupted.
So, how do we handle this situation? We come to Him again humbly and ask His forgiveness and the power is restored.
Friends, our horizontal, earthly relationships are similar. Inevitably, we will not say something nice to someone, or it won’t be with a good attitude, or we will say something hurtful, or we will be selfish in our actions and when we do any of these things, we switch the vibrant relationship circuit to “off”. We have caused a disruption in service. We all are guilty of doing that.
So, how do we turn the relationship back on? We need to come humbly to the person we have hurt and humbly ask for forgiveness. It’s that simple, but so hard to do.
Our challenge is to take responsibility on where we did not act appropriately and focus on clearing up what we have done wrong. It is probably not best to try to pressure the other person to admit what they might have done wrong to us, or pressure them to ask us for forgiveness. It’s a heart issue and we can only really take responsibility for what we have done and what needs to be done.
So, let’s all seek to charge up our life and turn on all our relationships by asking forgiveness to any one to whom we have said or done anything that was not done in love.