Restoring Relationships

Steve Arterburn

Are you living with a strained relationship?  Restoration of human relationships doesn’t happen instantaneously.  If you’ve broken someone’s heart or trust, you have a responsibility to face your failures.  And you also have the tough responsibility of avoiding the urge to blame others for the problems you’ve caused.  It may take some time before you’re able to face up to your failures.  Expect the process of restoration and regaining trust to take time.

The prophet Hosea was a remarkable man.  He was told by God to marry a prostitute.  His marriage was to be a living example to the nation of Israel of her infidelity toward God.  It must have hurt Hosea deeply when his wife returned to her life of prostitution.  Hosea said, ‘Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go and get your wife again.  Bring her back to you and love her, even though she loves adultery.  For the Lord still loves Israel even though the people have turned to other gods, offering them choice gifts”.  Hosea needed some time before he could be close to his wife again, for such deep restoration takes time.

It’s your responsibility to wait patiently while God helps you restore your broken relationships and the hearts you may have broken.  God can give those you’ve hurt love when love has been lost; he can help you trust and become trustworthy again, but these things take time.

Nebudchadnessar’s Pride

Steve Arterburn

Nebuchadnezzar was one of the greatest conquerors in the history of our world.  He came to dominate the people of many nations.  He possessed power, fame, and wealth.  At one point, he even considered himself to be a god.  But, like so many others, he lacked the one thing he needed the most: peace.  His insecurities wouldn’t allow him to be at peace with himself.  So how could he be at peace with others?  He was a man who was unhappy with himself and hostile toward the people around him.  Can you relate?

Nubuchadnezzar never truly discovered the peace that could’ve been found had he surrendered his life to God.  He did everything he could to maintain his power over others.  Remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?  When they walked out of the fiery furnace unscathed, Nebuchadnezzar realized that he’d been thwarted by God.  He also saw that the three who surrendered their lives to God had far greater power at their disposal than even he had.  Despite his recognition of God’s power, however, the king’s pride continued to get the best of him.  

Nebuchadnezzar continued to brag about his greatness and claimed that he alone was responsible for the great city of Babylon.  He refused to recognize that all power’even his power’was granted by God.  Subsequently he never understood the blessing of peace that comes with surrendering to God.  Do you know this blessing of peace?

The Business World

Steve Arterburn

The ‘rules’ practiced in today’s business world aren’t always the same as God’s rules, are they?  Are you getting caught up in the game, trying to get as much as you can’are you tempted to cheat others or not give them their fair share?  God will hold his men’you and I’accountable for this.  We must take responsibility if we’ve sinned this way.

Take for example a man in the Bible named Zacchaeus.  Zacchaeus’s hunger for riches drove him to take more than his fair share while he was collecting taxes from the Jews for the Roman government.  He was hated by his own people as an extortioner and a traitor.  But when Jesus reached out to him he changed dramatically. The book of Luke says,  ‘Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘I will give half of my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have overcharged people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!’ Jesus responded, ‘Salvation has come to his home today” (Luke 19:8-9).

When you honestly reflect on your life, you should be careful to consider whether you have taken more than your fair share in your dealings’business or personal. If so, it’s your responsibility to face the greed, the fear, the anger, and the pride that led you to behave dishonestly.  Like Zacchaeus, true spiritual growth will be evidenced in practical ways.  I hope you’ll take those courageous steps today.