by Barry Newton
Names are not necessary because the stories are so common.
On the one hand, perhaps someone misconstrued another’s intent or maybe expectations were unrealistic or not communicated. Regardless of the reason, a friendship is broken. And nobody accepts the responsibility. It is the other person’s fault. So each waits on the other to make the first move. After all, the ball is in other court since that is the source of the problem.
On the other hand, relationships may lie tattered and torn because words were intentionally hurled or actions were deliberately taken to maliciously pierce, sting or crush.
Whereas we might be tempted to focus upon our hurt or to simply wait for the other person to make the first move, Jesus’ focus is upon mobilizing us to action regardless of whose fault it is. When relationships are broken, Jesus would say that the ball is always in the court of the disciple.
If someone has hurt us, Jesus says:
“if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your sins” (Mark 11:25, NET).
On the other hand, if someone has something against us Jesus would counsel us to “First go and be reconciled to your brother” before going to worship (Matthew 5:24).
To follow Jesus, it does not matter whose fault it is. Seeking reconciliation is the disciple’s responsibility. This may involve trying to rectify whatever grievances others have against us or releasing others from the debt they created. But either way, the goal is to strive for reconciliation.
On the cross, Jesus showed us the way.
“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
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