Worship Devotional: Bonds
By Will Herron
One of my first memories of school is meeting another kid in my year called Gavin.
Gavin had red hair…I did not.
Gavin liked soccer…I did not.
Gavin liked WWF (old school) wrestling…I did not.
Yet somehow we formed a tight friendship at the age of 6 that, now 30yrs later, is the strongest its ever been. We went through 17 years of school together and, despite now living thousands of miles apart, still keep in touch often. Its interesting to look at those relationships that transcend the various ups and downs over decades and think “why has this lasted and stayed this healthy for so long?”
Drawing from a recent message I gave at HTC, I’d like to highlight three keys to strong, long lasting relationships.
I think the first key, and most crucial to any strong relationship, is trust.
Recently Joel and I made a 747 out of Lego. It was huge. This thing had a wingspan as long as a bald eagle with longer than average wingspan. It took forever to build yet unfortunately met a quick end as it smashed apart on the dining room floor 🙂
Trust is like lego, takes forever to build up but can be broken in an instant. It is also for the most part built up brick by brick, experience by experience.
For us practically, this is about growing to be a safe harbor for those around us. Its about growing more and more in trustworthiness as the Spirit works in us. His reign in us manifests itself in things like love, patience, self control, gentleness, kindness – all traits that lend themselves to someone who is both approachable and trustworthy.
Secondly, another pillar of a strong relationship is faithfulness.
Each of us are broken and that brokenness can and does spill out on those around us. A strong bond between two imperfect people naturally displays itself in the ability to remain faithful in the face of offense. In the midst of conflict we press in rather than turn away.
There is also an aspect of faithfulness that shows itself in just being present with each other through the different seasons in life. Strong relationship is often forged through shared journey! Its the coming alongside one another in the pain of the valley or the joyful celebration at the mountain top.
Finally, I can’t write about strong relationships without mentioning forgiveness!
Now, I think many people, myself included, carry misconceptions about what forgiveness actually is…
Forgiveness is not excusing behavior or sweeping it under the rug.
Its not forgetting behavior either. When we are forgiven by God, it not that He forgets our sins, rather our sins are no longer held against us.
Also, forgiveness is not reconciliation. Forgiveness happens in the heart of one person, reconciliation requires good faith on the part of both parties.
So what is forgiveness?
Forgiveness is laying down the right to get even. It doesn’t mean we give up on justice but it does mean moving toward a place where we no longer hold a particular thing against someone. Its also about seeing past someones sin to their humanity and brokenness. When we forgive, we are following both God’s example and His command to forgive.
In saying all this, I don’t want to sound naive to some of the things we’ve had to experience in life. Some of us have walked through things or heard things said over us that have wounded us deeply. My prayer for us is that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we are able to move toward forgiveness for those grievances rather than harboring them. To know the freedom and peace that can come when we no longer hold things against others.
Holy Spirit, fill us, help us and change us that we would grow in trustworthiness, faithfulness and forgiveness. Amen!