I am not alone when I say the challenges faced during the last year have been painful on many fronts. The most painful of those challenges haven’t been the pandemic and its restrictions or the heated election cycle of 2020. Those events are just instigators. For me personally, the most painful experiences came unexpectedly in some of my relationships when unkind words or harsh disagreement were spoken in public forums without first offering me the honor of private engagement.
The pain also came a few times when I offered prophetic insight delivered early in the year that was rejected by some because it did not fit a narrowly defined narrative or seemed over-stated but is now playing out before our eyes. While these painful instances are very small in number, they carried extra pain because they did not come from strangers, but from people who knew me. We always think the people who know us, and our history would be the kindest and most able to hang in there with us but that is not always the case.
Pandemics, government overreach, and heated election cycles will all pass and find a place in the halls of history. What remains with us are relationships, both the broken and divided ones, and the steadfast and enduring ones. If we want to be part of God’s redemptive outcome, we must manage well the condition of our hearts. If we don’t, in the end, we will have lost the gift of peace to the smothering effects of bitterness and unforgiveness.
I’ve been here before – several times in the last 40 years. The circumstances and names of the people involved have been different in each case, but the rejection, unbridled talk, and resulting dishonor all look and sound the same. I can say the following with absolute confidence. If we choose to travel the higher road of integrity contending for restoration whenever possible, what will come in our future will be better than what transpired in the past. The greatest conflict in times of personal transition always takes place within the human heart. Manage your heart well and you will live to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Garris Elkins