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Posted by Rick Warren

If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you ... agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. (Philip. 2:1-2, Msg)

God sent Jesus into the world so that our relationship with God could be restored. Christmas is about restoring relationships and many of us have relationships that need mending.

God wants us to value relationships and make every effort to maintain them instead of discarding them whenever there is a rift, a hurt or a conflict.

In fact, the Bible tells us that God has given us the ministry of restoring relationships. For this reason a significant amount of the New Testament is devoted to teaching us how to get along with one another.

The Apostle Paul taught that our ability to get along with others is a mark of spiritual maturity. Since Christ wants his family to be known for our love for each other, broken fellowship is a disgraceful testimony to unbelievers. This is why Paul was so embarrassed that the members of the church in Corinth were splitting into warring factions and even taking each other to court.

He wrote, "Shame on you! Surely there is at least one wise person in your fellowship who can settle a dispute between fellow Christians." (1 Cor. 6:5, TEV) He was shocked that no one in the church was mature enough to resolve the conflict peaceably. In the same letter, he said, "I'll put it as urgently as I can: You must get along with each other." (1 Cor. 1:10, Msg)

If you want God's blessing on your life and you want to be known as a child of God, you must learn to be a peacemaker. Jesus said, "God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God." (Matt. 5:9, NLT)

Notice Jesus didn't say, "Blessed are the peace lovers," because everyone loves peace. Neither did he say, "Blessed are the peaceable," who are never disturbed by anything. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who work for peace" - those who actively seek to resolve conflict.

This Christmas is a good time to actively work toward restoring broken relationships.



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