Thursday, July 12, 2012
Download MP3 (right click to save)
Do you remember Humpty Dumpty? Well, you might be in the middle of a Humpty Dumpty relationship right now. You remember he fell down, went to pieces and all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty together again. Maybe that's how you feel right now; there are pieces all around you, and there's no one to put them together. The wreckage? Well, it could be a broken relationship or maybe a breaking relationship with a parent, or a child, a husband, a wife, or a friend. If you're one of the King's men or women, there's actually something you can do to put the pieces back together again if you will.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "A Paper Bridge."
Now, our word for today from the Word of God really has something to do with broken or breaking relationships. It says in Romans 12:17-18, "Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."
Now, this says that there is a segment of any relationship that really is up to you. And as much as it depends on you; you cannot control the other person's response of course. But your part should always contribute to peace. Now, it's very easy to hide your responsibility for the brokenness of that relationship, or the strain, or the distance.
You can say, "Oh, listen, what good would it do? They're never going to change." Or, "He/she doesn't understand; they don't want to understand." Or how about this, "If I did talk to them, they'd never listen." Or, "Listen, you know, I've tried so hard. What's the use?"
Listen, that relationship is worth fighting for. You're going to carry with you wherever you go the remains of that broken relationship, like all the broken pieces of Humpty Dumpty, carried around inside of you. I wonder, would you take one more initiative? Would you try to build a paper bridge to that person? To be able to say, "As much as I could do, I have done." You know what I'm going to ask you to do? Write a letter.
Now, if you haven't written a letter to them yet, well then maybe you haven't done all you could. You see, when you write, here's what happens. It will be much clearer than if you don't write and you try to just say it, because when you just say it you get distracted. And they'll answer and you'll answer back. And also, if you'll write it they'll consider it a lot more seriously; they'll read it over and over again and they're not going to have to be thinking of what they're going to say next. So, you sort of have their full attention.
And I'd like to suggest to you five paragraphs in that letter with that person that, well, there's a strained relationship. I'll give you the opening sentence of each paragraph, and then it's up to you.
Paragraph number one, "I love you..." Start with that; explain your love for them. The second paragraph, "Thank you for..." Just begin to reflect on some of the things you do appreciate about them. I know there's a lot of things that frustrate you, bother you, but you never would have had a relationship with them if there weren't some things you appreciate about them. Would you start to list those? "Thank you for..." The third paragraph begins with these very difficult words, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for my part of the brokenness; for anything I've contributed to a broken or strained relationship." The fourth paragraph says, "I wish we could... Here's how I'd like our relationship to be..." "Whatever's happened in the past, here's how I'd like it to be from now on." The last paragraph, "I promise..." "Here's my commitments to you." Okay, did you get that? "I love you," Thank you," "I'm sorry," "I wish we could," "I promise," and then you get on your knees and you lay that letter before the Lord and you pray over it.
And then you talk about it with the person after it arrives. Let them read it. Ask them if they would talk with you after it arrives. Look, what have you got to lose? And maybe it will be a new beginning. For some people I know it has been. And you will have fulfilled what the Scripture says, "As far as it depends on you, live at peace."
Give God a chance to take that relationship and mend it again, using that letter as a beginning, because that relationship's going to be a part of you wherever you go.