Here is another resolution that we can commit to -- and it's another one that will make a significant difference in 2017!
Let's commit to restore our relationships!
Here is the verse that will challenge us:
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18)
Many of us rely heavily on antivirus software. It protects our computers, and every so often, it will make a little window pop up on our screen. It will ask us if we want to check on things; do we want to scan our files, or our emails, or even a new accessory that was plugged in. That way, we can ensure that everything is working properly.
That verse in Romans is God's invitation to check and see if our personal relationships are working properly. The most important part (in my humble opinion) is that phrase "as far as it depends on you." That's a challenge to us, personally, to do all that we can to restore our relationships.
Years ago, when the earth was still cooling, our choir director used to stop us when we were sight-reading some new music, and soberly tell us that he had heard a few "clinkers." Amid much laughter, we would resolve to try again, and make certain that we hit the right notes on the next attempt. This phrase is challenging us to look back and personally take care of any "clinkers" we may have hit in our lives, and restore the relationships that have gone wrong.
Now, some relationships may have gone wrong in our lives because of what other people have done, and they very well may be content to leave things that way. They might not want the relationship restored. God recognizes that, and that is why that other phrase is there: "if it is possible." But I expect that if we are honest, some of our relationships have gone off-course because of what we have done, haven't they?
I believe this verse means that if we have caused a rift in a relationship, it's up to us to try to fix it. We have a responsibility to do everything we can, on our side, to restore it. And I'm not talking about duct tape here. No, probably one of the hardest things for humans to do, is to ask for forgiveness. And many of us humans find it especially difficult to say "I'm sorry" to the people we are closest to.
Whether it is the relationship of parent and child, or husband and wife, or even co-workers in the business world, there are many wrongs that can be righted by simply saying, "I'm sorry. I was wrong. Will you forgive me?"
Do we need to ask someone to forgive us for angry words?
For selfish actions?
For inconsiderate behavior?
One of the most significant things we can do in this new year is not to hold a dramatic fireworks display for our neighborhood, but to admit our errors and ask forgiveness from the folks we have hurt.
Will we rise to that challenge, and pray for the Spirit's help as we try to mend and restore our personal relationships?