Written by: Christy E. Jutare
National Director IVCF Philippines
Reconciliation is a word that evokes hope in my heart. To restore broken relationships, one has to take steps of humility and dying to self. Certainly not easy but definitely worth the joy and peace of reconciled ties and more meaningful relations. As I think more about it, I am reminded of a story I once read: The Two Brothers and a Carpenter.
Once upon a time, two brothers who were also the best of friends lived on adjoining farms – Juan (the older) and Pedro (the younger). They had a terrible fight. It was the first serious conflict in 40 years of working together and farming side by side. What began with a small misunderstanding grew into a major difference and finally exploded in an exchange of bitter words, followed by weeks of silence.
One morning there was a knock on Juan’s door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter’s toolbox. “I’m looking for a few days’ work,” he said. “Would you have a few small jobs here and there that I could help with?” “Yes,” said Juan, “I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That’s my younger brother’s. Last week there was a meadow between us, but he took his bulldozer and dug a small river to divide us. He did this to spite me, but I’ll do him one better. See that pile of lumber? I want you to build an 8-foot fence so that I won’t see his face or his place anymore.” The carpenter said, “I’ll do a job that is sure to make you happy.” Juan helped the carpenter get ready and then he left to do errands for the day.
The carpenter worked hard all that day. When Juan returned at sunset, the carpenter had just finished his job. Juan’s eyes grew wide and his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all! Instead the carpenter had built a bridge that stretched from one side of the creek to the other. And at that moment, Pedro was crossing the bridge with hands outstretched and tears in his eyes. “Juan, you’re a better man than I am to build this bridge after all that I have said and done.” The happy brothers turned to see the carpenter hoisting his toolbox onto his shoulder. Juan said, “No, wait! Please, stay a few days. I have a lot of other projects for you.” “Thank you, I’d love to stay,” said the carpenter, “but I have many more bridges to build.” (Source: unknown)
Like the brothers in the story, there are times when we need help in figuring out how to bridge a gap that has widened and affected a relationship. We are often tempted to stop talking to each other, discredit or gossip about the other. We find it difficult to forgive because the pain and hurt are real. But Jesus encourages us not to abandon the relationship; rather, we are to speak lovingly, to listen earnestly, to work at mending that relationship intentionally. To Peter’s question: “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” – His response continues to thunder throughout the centuries: “No, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matt 18:21,22). He has not left us without help, but continues to pray for us, that we would be one (Jn 17:11), with the Holy Spirit providing grace as we obey. Let us not just be reconciled to God, let us also be reconciled to one another…
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Pray with us as we prepare for National Conference 2017
1. Praise God that after eight years we – students, graduates, volunteers and staff – will gather again at a National Conference (NC). Pray for how God will use this NC to renew us as His people, obeying Him and jealous for His glory among the nations. May God also use NC to rebuild our movement so that IVCF is more responsive to the challenges of our time and society.
2. Praise God that Daniel Bourdanne, General Secretary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students or IFES, will be our lead Bible expositor. (IVCF is a member movement of IFES that links student movements in 150 countries). Praise God also that Ms. Lisa Espinelli-Chinn will be one of our plenary speakers. Pray for them as they study and prepare for their sessions. Pray too that all other invited resource persons would be available.
3. Praise God for giving us a good venue – CCT Tagaytay Retreat & Training Center. Pray for a harmonious working relationship with the CCT-TRRC administration.
4. We are prayerfully expecting God to lead us at NC. Thus, we hope that the key stakeholders of our movement will be there so that they can help to share and propagate the NC experience and outcomes to all our constituents. Please pray that all our Board members, regional council members, and volunteers will be able to participate. Pray also that each of our ISCF and college chapters will be able to send at least one representative. Pray also for the participation of our ministry partners and donors.
5. Please pray as we raise the P3M subsidy for the Conference.