9 March, Thursday – Stubborn Reconciliation

Thursday of the 2nd Week of Lent

Jer 17:5-10
Lk 16:19-31

‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’”

I would imagine that all of us have people in our lives that we find to be very stubborn and hard to deal with at times. Trying to get them to listen or acknowledge another viewpoint almost seems like a direct challenge to their sense of identity. It might show a sign of weakness that they’ve conceded to an opposing view and in no way would they ever want to be seen as being wrong or of having made a mistake. When a person’s heart is so hardened that they can no longer open themselves up to seeing reality for what it is – rather just forcibly fitting ideas, events and actions into their own world view… this creates alienation from others and eventually leads to difficulties in forming, developing and maintaining healthy relationships.

These people can be so frustrating to deal with that eventually it becomes better off to just drop it and move on. The issue becomes more severe when the “just drop it and move on” progresses beyond the topic of disagreement to the actual relationships with those whom we once were close to. The inability to find common ground and the refusal to acknowledge fault by either or both parties makes it exceptionally challenging to seek and grant forgiveness.

In the Gospel reading from today, Jesus illustrates to the Pharisees the dangers of their own stubbornness. They were given numerous signs and miracles, yet their hardened hearts did not allow them to hear the message nor accept the messenger for who He was, is and to be. Like the rich man in the parable – when his time came and he was ready to repent – it was too late. The rich man and his four brothers had already been given numerous teachings and time to seek out God for forgiveness. Yet, they chose to ignore these teachings and eventually had no relationship with Him. I’ve written about the strained relationship I have with my brother in the past. Recently, things have gotten a little better. It’s been a long and slow path to recovery, but headed in the right direction. A few weeks ago, we saw each other as we both happened to be transiting through the same airport. A complete coincidence. Although the encounter was much shorter than I had hoped for (and the conversation was not as fluid as I would have wanted) it was certainly better than the frosty tensions in the past. God has been softening my heart and helping me to be less stubborn in how I’ve been handling this situation.

Brothers and sisters, our God is a God of reconciliation. He longs so much for a restored relationship with His people that He sent Jesus, His one and only son to die at the cross for our sins. Let us give praise and glory to Him for His great sacrifice.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Steven Su)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray for softened hearts and a desire for true reconciliation with the ones we’ve hurt and who’ve hurt us. Give us the humility to admit when we’re wrong and mend wounded relationships with those that we love.

Thanksgiving: Lord, we give thanks to You for the teachings of Moses and the prophets that You’ve sent to us. We thank you for the sacrifice of Jesus so that we through Your grace alone can we be reconciled with You.

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