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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Help, You Hurt Me!

 Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:2, 3

John and his brother were farmers. They worked side by side. They shared machinery, traded labor and goods. Their conflict started as a small disagreement, but escalated until they no longer spoke. One day the younger brother bulldozed their adjoining meadow until a creek separated the two farms.

Shortly after there was a knock on John’s door. A carpenter stood with his toolbox in hand. “I’m looking for a few days work.”

“I do have a job for you,” said John. “I want you to build an 8-foot fence so that I can’t even see my brother’s place. That will show him.”

“I think I see the situation,” said the carpenter. “Just get me the lumber and nails and I will do a job that pleases you.”

At sunset John returned to the farm to find the job finished. However, to his astonishment there was no fence. Instead there was a bridge over the creek. John’s younger brother was coming across, his hand outstretched. “You are quite a man to build this bridge after all I’ve said and done.”

The two brothers met in the middle, taking each other’s hand. Forgiveness took place. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder. “No, wait. I’ve a lot of other projects for you to do,” said John.

“I’d love to stay on,” the carpenter said,” but I have many more bridges to build.”

Are you a bridge builder? All of us have experienced conflict with friends or family. Forgiving is tough. When we have been hurt, we want to hurt back. That is our sinful nature. We were born with it. Building bridges does not come naturally.

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. Is there a bridge you need to build or repair? Forgiving won’t change the past, but it certainly changes the future. Do yourself a favor and forgive.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13).

Dear Father, Teach us to be bridge builders. Thank You for Your forgiveness.

Janice Yandell

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