Due to living in a broken world and the result of that being heartache and grieving, each person has hard days of their calendar year that they must persevere through.
For some, it’s the day they got divorced.
For some, it’s the day they lost a loved one.
For some, it’s the day they were diagnosed with an illness.
For some, it’s the day they lost their job.
For me, there a few difficult days every year due to my father’s death 8 years ago. His birthday, Father’s day, the day of his death are harder-than-usual dates.
For me, the death of our infant son (read here) is a stark reminder of pain and loss.
When my wife and I were infertile, Mother’s Day was a difficult day for her (read here).
The day I was fired from a job I loved but didn’t honor due to sin, is a harsh reality each year.
I have come to be thankful those date reminders have been healed by our Comforting God and redeemed in such peaceful ways.
The most difficult day of the year for me hands down is December 7th.
December 7th is a hard day in our country – it’s Pearl Harbor Day. It’s a day that brings so much reflection even eight decades later. On December 7th, enemies of our country attacked American soldiers on American boundaries. The enemy dropped bombs on United States navy battleships that resulted in 2,403 deaths.
I had a godly grandfather who served in the navy in World War II but this is not why December 7th is the most difficult day for me each year.
Every December 7th, every year, I sit in prayer and I ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to me names of people I’ve harmed during the course of the past 11 months. In prayer I ask God to reveal to me the names of people where my words and actions have caused casualties. I ask the Spirit to bring to my mind the names of people who don’t view me as friend, but view me as an enemy.
As those names come to mind (and the Spirit has been faithful to do so when I ask), if I haven’t been humble and sought out forgiveness, then I act on it right away.
(Now, it’s not like if I hurt someone in January of a given year, I wait until December 7th to apologize. I try to seek reconciliation and ownership of my sin when it occurs, but even when doing so immediately, the relationship might remain fractured, or over time I realize I could’ve been more gracious and understanding and less harsh and impatient with others).
Depending on the pain I’ve caused, every December 7th I reach out by writing a letter. I make a phone call. I try to set up a meeting face-to-face if possible. I don’t text. I don’t send a DM. I don’t email.
And when I reach out, I don’t blame. I don’t give excuses. I don’t expect them to apologize for anything. I apologize. I ask for forgiveness.
I do this every December 7th because it’s Pearl Harbor Day. As America’s enemy dropped bombs on our men and women, I am certain throughout this year I have dropped relational bombs, causing emotional causalities. I want to go out of my way to make it right if I haven’t yet. It’s not a fun day I look forward to but it’s a day that brings so much healing, liberation and lifts so much emotional weight off me and off the person I apologize to so we both can be the best versions of ourselves in our daily relationships.
Philippians 4:8 says this: Dear brothers and sisters, one final thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
It’s too much baggage on our daily lives to think about the person who’s bad-mouthed us, or the person who has something against us. God doesn’t want you to keep replaying the script of what happened when it got ugly. Thats not what He means when He says think about such things. Instead, we should think about what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirably and seeking forgiveness and reconciliation is thinking about all of those godly traits.
Is there a relationship where you need to seek peace?
Have you been waiting for that person to come to you and grovel while dismissing where you fell short as a gracious person in the relationship?
Have you dropped a bomb on someone and now there’s causalities?
Have you been putting off seeking or giving forgiveness to someone?
Some of you may live with a loved one you have mistreated and ignored how it’s made them feel.
Pray to the Spirit for names to bring to mind. Decide to have a contrite heart that humbly apologizes for how the relationship was harmed and then bravely make the phone call, set up the coffee date or write the letter.
It’ll be a conversation that will lead to peace, healing and unity and maybe even reconciliation and new life.
If you act on reaching out, you’ll be a living testimony of what the Gospel message truly means.
Thanks for reading! You are so loved, now go love on others!