“In the moment of offense, it may feel easier to cut ties and leave. We don’t want to do the hard work of facing one another, working through the difficulty, naming the hardship, confronting the things that have led to the breakdown. . . . We bolt. But we never go empty-handed. We always end up carrying offenses with us wherever we go.”- Daniel Grothe
“Love difficult people. You are one of them.”- Bob Goff
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”- Proverbs 27:6 (NIV)
In Chapter 6 (“Honoring Your Relationships: People Are the Great Purifiers”) of The Power of Place, Daniel Grothe posits that staying in the same place with the same group of people for a really long time = one of the least glamorous things you can do with your life. However, staying may also represent the most power thing you can do.
Most significantly, Thomas Merton, the well-known Trappist monk and brilliant thinker of contemporary spirituality, once reflected on how important it is to stay. Toward the end of his life, Merton wrote:
“By making a vow of stability the monk renounces the vain hope of wandering off to find a ‘perfect monastery.’ This implies a deep act of faith: the recognition that it does not much matter where we are or whom we live with. . . . Stability becomes difficult for the man whose monastic ideal contains some note, some element of the extraordinary.”
In conclusion, Pastor Grothe stresses, abstractions never grow the fruit of the Spirit. Rather, like a young sapling, the wind of unkind words beating against us in yearly cycles makes us stronger. And as the dry spells of despair move in, somehow we blossom and bud with fragrant joy.
Hence, Pastor Grothe comments:
“When conditions around us are unfavorable, our first instinct is to uproot and shift over to a new soil. . . . People are the great purifiers. We grow in holiness as we honor our relationships.”
Today’s question: What Bible verses stay you in the moment of offense? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Our constant quest for more”