part, yet Apart!
one part suffers, every part suffers with it" (1 Cor 12:26)
takes a serious view of damaged relationships. We earn His displeasure
when we fail to reconcile with one another. As long as the sailing is
smooth, we tend to be too independent. But when we run aground, we crave
for the fellowship of God's people. Times of testing and the hour of trial
teach us the importance and preciousness of the help and company of
brothers and sisters in Christ (Heb 12:22,23). "A brother is born for
adversity" (Prov 17:17). How much Jesus longed for the company of His
disciples at the garden of Gethsemane!
horizontal component of holiness is peace with men. We will miss God's
grace if we don't root out from our hearts whatever bitterness we have
against others (Heb 12:14,15). We have heard what happened to the cows
which were grazing together but were scattered by the evil advice of a
jackal. God struck an outstanding singer with leprosy for backbiting. He
healed her after she realised her folly (Num 12).
and difficulties soften our hearts, thus making reconciliation easy. Long
term enmity has been healed when one of the persons is suddenly and
seriously taken ill. Confessing our sins to one another and praying for
each other is God's prescription for healing (Js 5:16). God had to cripple
Jacob the trickster before crowning him (Gen 32:25-28).
should restitute matters not only with believers but also unbelievers if
we have harmed anyone of them. A guiltfree conscience is like medicine.
Good and smooth relationships keep us cheerful. Health and cheerfulness
mutually beget each other. Medical science recognizes that emotions such
as envy, resentment and hatred are responsible for the majority of
expect deliverance from troubles or lifting of the rod of correction the
moment we repent and pray. But this does not happen always. Hence the
exhortation: "Strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble
knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not
be dislocated, but rather be healed" (Heb 12:12,13). God did not
drive out all the enemies of Israel "immediately," but left them
for two reasons: One, to teach the children of Israel warfare, and second,
to test their obedience (Judg 2: 21;3:4). God's delays are for our good.
Psalms 6,13,38,56,70,88, and 143 are excellent prayers of David for
deliverance from his troubles and enemies. But God did not send him
instant deliverance in every case.