We all experience seasons. Any particular time of the year can bring up memories and emotions. How wonderful are some of these memories. The events permeate in our minds and can bring about nostalgia. On the other hand, they can bring up negative feelings, depression and regret.
In Ecclesiastes 3, we read, “To everything there is a season. A time for every purpose under heaven. — A time to embrace, a time to refrain from embracing. — A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” There is a reservoir of wisdom in these words. To everything there is a season. The up-coming seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas can be very volatile. If one has the spirit of love and reconciliation for one another. There will be a wonderful time of gathering together. For the season is a time of embracing one another. It is a time of speaking to one another in love. Reconciliation is a time of forgiving one another. Holding on to resentment, bitterness, and anger is the atmosphere of hate which defiles everything in its presence.
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” Hebrews 12:14-15 If you are not willing to forgive those whom you have grievances with then maybe it is a time to refrain from embracing one another and to keep silent until you have worked through your issues and can speak in gentleness and softness. “A soft word turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, and evil speaking be put away with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:29-32
Consider these emotions in a French rural family in the novel, The Woman of the Pharisees, by Francois Mauriac. Louis Pian, a teenager, attended a boarding school in Bordeaux. His stepmother, Bridgett, had an influential position in the community. A self-righteous woman whose austere religious principles led her to interfere in the lives of others. She had to apologize for her outbursts of anger as she “had lost control of herself and had been very harsh to” another character in the story. Afterward, she said, “I realize in all my humility I have a fiery nature. He who would tame the Old Adam must never sleep.” Her stepson, Louis, had a school friend of whom he became jealous due to his affections towards Louis’ sister. Louis said; “I felt anger, a desire to hurt him. I became a prey to all the nastiest instincts that flourish.” A priest in the novel has a profound word of counsel for us all. “All of us can hate those we love. The Lord told us to love our enemies; it is often easier to hate those we love.”
If any of you have an angry, unforgiving spirit towards another, the first thing needed for reconciliation is to make sure you are on the good ground of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The good ground is the message of the cross. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. But we must believe in Him to have eternal life.
“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and [that] He was buried, and [that] He rose again according to the scriptures.” I Corinthians 15:3-4 We need to repent of our sins. “Repent, then, turn to God, so that he will forgive your sins.” Acts 3:19 Then confess and believe in Him. “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
Now, this coming Thanksgiving and Christmas, is the season to embrace, forgive, and to speak love to those towards whom you have un-forgiveness, resentment, and bitterness. Go to God and ask Him to help you. Then reconcile with those with whom you have been at odds. This is God’s purpose for you in this season. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
God has extended His grace towards you. Now, you extend grace towards others.