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Until the Bitter End

Until the Bitter End

For all who love pride and power with empty vanity and the display of arrogance, and all spirits who desire such things and seek their own glory by dominating others, are bound together in one association… And all men and all spirits who humbly seek the glory of God and not their own, and who follow Him devoutly, belong to one fellowship. Nevertheless, God is most merciful and patient with the ungodly, and offers them an opportunity to repent and be corrected. ~ On the Catechizing of the Uninstructed, 19.31, trans, S. D. F. Salmond*.

Have you ever found yourself in a conflict without hope of reconciliation? Perhaps someone wronged you, and the person who hurt you was unwilling to ask for forgiveness. Perhaps you were the one at fault and weren’t able to swallow your pride.

We have different ways of responding to these situations.

Sometimes we lash out and let our anger get the better of us. Sometimes we do everything in our power to make the other person go away. Sometimes we do our best to ignore the individual, despite the unresolved conflict lingering in our hearts and minds.

Augustine tells us unresolved conflict lies at the heart of every culture: Those who seek justice often find themselves at odds with those who seek domination.

The humble will never find common ground with the proud.

Yet God chooses to be patient even when we are not. Until the bitter end, He gives even His worst enemies an opportunity to change and to be reconciled both to Him and to those whom they have harmed.

If you are like most people, you have unresolved conflict in your life. It might be ever-present, or it might wake you up in the middle of the night without warning. Ask the Lord to take your place in that argument. Give the conflict to Him. Pray He will give you His heart, His patience, and His grace to desire reconciliation — even until the bitter end.

Excerpted with permission from God Above All, copyright Zondervan.

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Your Turn

God is most merciful and patient with the ungodly, and offers them an opportunity to repent and be corrected. Have you ever been locked in a conflict you can’t get out of wondering why God doesn’t intervene? Maybe He is! Maybe God is using this conflict to get into the heart of the person on the other end of the conflict. Have patience. Give it to Him. Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you about the tough patience of God! ~ Devotionals Daily