October 18, 2008
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:18
Here's a question for you. If I were to ask everybody who knows you, 'Do you think he (or she) is ready to die?', what would they say?
Would they all be in agreement that you have no loose ends, nothing left undone?
One of the founders of our country, John Adams, didn't believe in leaving this world with work incomplete and scores unsettled. Towards the end of his life, when he realized he and Thomas Jefferson had spent much of the last eleven years arguing, he wrote a letter.
The letter, dated September 10, 1816, in part, read: "You and I ought not to die before we have explained ourselves to each other."
Adams had a good idea. Years in the parish have let me meet many folks who never got around to ending their quarrels with family members, never resolved their fights, never tried to find some grounds for forgiveness or peace.
Even worse, unlike Adams, many had no intention of settling those differences, even though they were deeply troubled by them.
That's why, today, before your end comes, I encourage you to resolve the conflicts you have with those with whom you have battled. You have a Lord Who, because of His Son's life, death, and resurrection, has patched up the breech between you and Him.
Can we do any less? Let His example encourage you to find harmony in your dealings with those around you... especially the ones you don't like.
And, if you're thinking, "Good idea. I'll do that... except for 'Old-What's-His-Name'. I'm not about to get together with him." Well, my friend, 'Old-What's-His-Name' is exactly the person you should go to first.
Like Paul wrote, because of Jesus, 'as much as possible, try to get along with everybody.' Including "What's-His-Name".
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear God, give me the strength and wisdom to resolve conflicts with the people in my life whom I need to forgive and who need to forgive me. Above all, I want there to be peace between me and You, Lord. I ask You for Your forgiveness for my sins. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries