Father’s Day has not always been a happy day for me. My dad and I have had a rocky relationship, but God is faithful. This year I didn’t dread looking for a Father’s Day card. God is restoring, and reconciling.
But five years ago I wanted to light the match to burn the dilapidated bridge between us. After I grew up and married, my dad slipped out of our lives. No visits. No calls. No birthday gifts.
My kids barely knew him.
However, he had given me hope that he might attend my daughter’s wedding.
As the wedding day approached, I kept waiting for his RSVP. Finally, I received an email with one sentence: “We will not be at the wedding.”
No apology. No excuse. Nothing.
Snow Cones and Hugs Help
I ran upstairs to my husband’s office to tell him the news, hot tears streaming down my face. All Mike could do was hold me for awhile and then offer to buy me a snow cone. (Which was a really good move on his part.)
The mango-coconut treat helped, but it would take weeks to simmer down and find the right words for my response. I was tired of being hurt. Weary from disappointment, and I could feel armor growing over my heart.
Yet, something in me knew I didn’t want to say or do anything I’d regret. I’ve done that before. So, I prayed for grace, journalled all my hurts and frustrations, and went for long walks asking God to show me what to do. Then one morning as I sat with my coffee and Bible, the words popped in my mind.
“I’m sorry you won’t be coming. We will miss you.”
I can honestly say those words were free of anger and hurt. The Lord supernaturally healed my wound and gave me kind words.
You never know
My sisters, you never know what life has in store. We can’t see beyond the present, but we can be assured by His Word that He is faithful. My story is an example. I had no idea that in three short years God would restore our relationship.
I won’t get into all the details, but now we talk once a week. We see each other twice a year. (I’m in North Carolina and he’s in Oklahoma.) And he attended my second child’s wedding.
You never know when the tide is going to change, when circumstances redirect the course. We can’t fathom what God sees ahead.
So, don’t burn the bridge. Somebody reading this needed those words. Your hurt. Angry. Your heart armored.
Trust God’s faithfulness. He will reconcile you. It may be thirty years down the road, but it can happen. Don’t try to change the person or manipulate the situation.
3 P’s: What to do when you want to burn the bridge
Because we aren’t puppets on a string, and different personalities and faith levels affect the healing process, reconciliation takes time. If you find yourself in this waiting room of reconciliation here are three things you can do:
- Pray. Ask for eyes to see the person as God does. Pray for them.
- Pause. Don’t punch back with the first words you want to say. Pray for God’s grace before you respond to an email or text.
- Pen the pain. Write your hurt in a journal then find a scripture to put next to that pain. Work on your relationship with God. Ask Him to heal you.
Bible Reading Plan on Reconciliation (Printable)
Staying grounded in the Word, constantly letting scripture seep through to our weary souls, prepares us for those difficult encounters. It also prepares us for that day of reconciling. Grab this Bite of Bread reading plan with scriptures to read everyday and prompts to help you apply them.
2 Corinthians 5: 18-19
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
Prompt: The word “reconcile” in the Greek is katallasso which means to change mutually or reconcile. Honestly, reconciliation involves a change in both parties. Reconcile means to restore friendly relations between or cause to coexist in harmony. God did this for us through the sacrifice of His Son. He has restored our relationship with Him. That is His heart. Write a prayer to have a heart like God’s, a heart willing to do what is needed to be done for harmony to be restored.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Prompt: It takes two to tango and two to be at peace. However, we are only called to do our part. We cannot change the other person. Be relieved of that load you are carrying. During your quiet time, ask the Lord to reveal who you’ve been trying to help change. Spend some time talking to the Lord about this.
Matthew 5: 23-24
“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.”
Prompt: The context of this passage is crucial. Jesus is preaching his famous sermon on the mount, and He is talking about murder and anger. He says, “But I say to you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment (just as the one who murdered is liable.) Ya’ll, we are not right with God until we are at peace with men. God knows our hearts. The scripture above proves that. He knows when we’ve extended peace and it was not accepted. Do some heart inventory today. Is there anyone you’re angry with today? Write a prayer asking God to help you forgive and grant grace.
1 Peter 3:9
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
Prompt: Who will you bless today who is normally a difficult part of your day? (Don’t do it expecting your kindness to be reciprocated. Do it for Jesus.)
1 Corinthians 13:4-5
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Prompt: Have you kept any records of wrongs? Write the name Jesus over their names.
Reconciling with Difficult People
Please don’t read this post and feel burdened to reconcile with those in your life who steal your peace and joy . You can’t do it. Only God Himself, the Way-Maker, healer of hearts can do the impossible. Our part is to be open to change, ears listening, hearts searching for His response, His grace. I have an article on dealing with difficult people. It’s probably a good addition to this post. I’ve also placed a link below to an author, Alison Cook, PHD, whose blogs and books are packed with wisdom concerning boundaries.
Let’s pray. Hold my hand.
“Father, It makes you sad when we don’t get along. Help us yield our broken relationships to you. Draw us closer to you, help us love and forgive. We can’t do this without you. Please restore and reconcile. Amen.
See you Wednesday! Just follow me on FB and show up at 7:30 PM ET!
Great site on boundaries: Alison Cook, PHD