How often when we have a disagreement with someone do we want to just end the tension by apologizing, even if we know deep down we were right in our actions? How often have we experienced that true sense of family peace, that feeling where no one is on edge? In a quote from a friend, “when you feel tension in the room (home, office, relationship, etc) you know God isn’t there.” You can’t have Godly peace if you are searching for ways to control the people around you, or blaming everyone else for your own misgivings.
Extending an olive branch shouldn’t be met with a list of tasks to do. The homecoming of the prodigal son was not met with a laundry list of tasks that needed to be done first. No, his father, welcomed him home on God’s terms, not on man’s. Can you imagine for a moment the feeling of joy the prodigal son’s mother must have felt. Here she hadn’t been able to speak to her son for quite some time. When the prodigal son returned home, he was met with outstretched arms, welcoming love, and even a party. But in this physical world, when you extend an olive branch you are met with a laundry list of how the others in families and relationships want it to happen. Everyone finding ways to spout off “You must do this or that.” “We will only accept that olive branch if you do it my way.” Where is God in this scenario? He isn’t present at all.
Today is Day of Atonement, and we are to be reconciled to God and to each other. But it is so difficult to be reconciled with people who want reconciliation on their terms that they forget what God has to say about reconciliation. Are you at peace on God’s terms or your own terms? Do you make people constantly jump through hoops to win your affection, your respect, and your honor? Do you live a life filled with Godly peace or is your life filled with tension? Are your actions dividing families?
The Prodigal son came home, told his father he was wrong and in essence apologized for what he did. The father showed compassion on the son, even before the son apologized, and welcomed him back into the fold. This is a Godly story one that depicts all of our lives. But just as we go to our spiritual father and ask for forgiveness we need to ask for forgiveness from our physical fathers. The father of the prodigal son did not hold the wrongdoing over the son’s head for years on end. No, he had compassion on him. When you forgive as God forgives you wipe out the wrongdoing, God doesn’t hold the sin over your head and reminds you of it 10 years down the road.
When an olive branch is offered out to you, do you put stipulations on it? Or do you show compassion?