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Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 6 : Be Reconciled | Day 40

Discern the Right Timing!

God uses a significant analogy to describe a person who has been offended: “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle” (Proverbs 18:19).

In the days of walled cities, there were only three ways to conquer the city. The first way was to storm the walls. This was a bloody ordeal and often ended in failure. The second method was to try to knock down the walls. This was a major operation and required huge engines of war. The third and most effective way was to watch for someone to leave a door open in the walls and to go through that door to conquer the city.

Finding the right time means asking: "When will this person be most open and responsive to my appeal for reconciliation?"

Generally speaking, when seeking reconciliation, it is best to make an appointment with the individual and meet face to face. When a personal meeting may create problems, make a phone call. Calling too early in the morning or too late at night would be inappropriate. It is also inadvisable to call during meal times or during times when you know the person would be very busy. Asking a close friend of the offended person for a suggestion of a good time to call could be the best approach.

The important thing is to make sure we do it. David certainly offended the entire family of Bathsheba when he committed adultery with her and arranged for the death of her husband. He probably had many opportunities to be reconciled to her family members; however, it appears that David did not seek reconciliation with Bathsheba's grandfather, Ahithophel. (See II Samuel 11:3, 23:34.)

Ahithophel was David's wisest and most trusted counselor, but David's offense possibly caused him to grow bitter and wish for David's death. When Absalom rebelled against David, Ahithophel gave Absalom precise counsel about how to destroy David. If Absalom would have followed that advice, he probably would have been successful in defeating David.

After preparing for restitution and wrestling with God for His blessing, we can anticipate God's leading in the timing.

Since the command tells us to leave our gift at the altar and go our way to seek reconciliation, the best timing is the day in which God reminds us of the offense. In Psalms we read, “What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? ... Seek peace, and pursue it” (Psalm 34:12, 14).

Has God reminded you of individuals whom you have offended? Let's make today the day of reconciliation so that we can release the offended individuals from bitterness and experience the wonderful freedom of a clear conscience.

“... First be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard