A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city,
and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.
This little proverb reminds us of the amazing amount of effort we must take to resolve conflict. It is never easy. I know this too well from the conflicts that I have contributed to over my life. I know it from the conflicts I have resolved. I know it from the incredibly hard work the ministry of reconciliation has been, particularly as I have engaged in it pastorally through specializing in counseling over the past ten years.
I've been a pastor for nearly three decades. And there has never been a season in ministry where it has been easy and without at least one conflict to resolve. That doesn't mean it hasn't been rewarding... it certainly has. But gospel ministry is hard work because I'm a sinner, under grace, ministering to sinners with the grace of the gospel.
I have seen the grace of God bring an unyielding brother or sister to the cross, and back to another person in reconciling forgiveness. That makes it all worthwhile. But I've also seen unyielding offended people walk away unable to forgive. That breaks my heart.
Oh Lord Jesus, how I long with You to see the castle bars fall off and the city walls crumble so that reconciliation would flow through Your people! Make us tender to Your call to repent, and seek forgiveness from You and one another. Start with me, Lord. Amen