Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Waiting for the Olive Branch

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Olive branches symbolize peace. The expression “extend an olive branch” means an offer of peace or reconciliation.  Olive trees take many years to mature and it has been said that war is typically very hard on olives because people cannot take the time to nurture them and plant new trees. Thus, an offer of an olive branch means that person is tired of war, whether it is an actual war or just a disagreement between friends. In Ancient Greek and Roman history, people would offer actual olive branches.  Roman armies that had been defeated would carry olive branches as a symbol they were surrendering.  
So often in sermons on forgiveness, the focus is on giving forgiving others – because it is a very hard thing to do. Waiting on forgiveness is also a very hard thing to do.  When we are in an argument or we have wronged someone, and we really want to make things right, waiting for the olive branch to be extended to you can feel like an eternity. It is totally out of our control. We are the ones in the wrong, so it is their decision whether or not to forgive.  While you are waiting for forgiveness:
  • Pray - First and foremost, pray for God’s healing and forgiveness toward you for what you have done and for His guidance in this situation.  Pray for His hand to be on you, help you know what to say and give you some peace.  Pray for the person you have wronged as well.  Pray for their healing and peace in this situation.  Pray for the walls to be torn down so complete healing can take place.
  • Reach Out –Reach out to the person you have wronged, ask forgiveness, and try to bridge the gap. Be aware that this person may not react as quickly as you want them to.  You are hurting, knowing your part and wanting to make amends, but they are hurting and may not be open to you enough at this point to allow that connection.  
  • Wait –Keep praying and wait upon the Lord.  It is so hard, and it may seem like time is crawling by, but all you can do is give it to Him and let him be in control.  You have done your part and even though it makes you feel so bad and it hurts, you cannot control whether or not another person will forgive you.  
It is an awful feeling when there is discord in our lives, especially with people we love. Even one word of positive communication can make things much better.  So, remember if you are the one who needs to forgive someone, one little extension of an olive branch is so important.  It is like a drink of water in a dry and thirsty desert, a craving that consumes.  You long for the reconciliation provided by forgiveness.  If you do not receive the forgiveness you desire, you may just have to move on.  Know that you have done what you could and accept God’s forgiveness and forgive yourself. Unforgiveness is a sin also, and that is between them and God.   
Scripture to Claim:
By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.
1 John 3:19-20 ESV 

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