Relationships are really hard! Have you noticed? And yet our lives are meant to revolve around two basic commands, both requiring a great deal of love: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself (cf. Mt. 22:34-40).
We should never be without hope in our relationship with God – we know a lot about his unconditional love – how he eats with sinners and goes after even one straying sheep. We may neglect God or even betray him, but he will always run out to greet us, place rings on our fingers and serve us meals of celebration to enjoy with our friends.
But what about our human relationships? They seem to weaken and break so easily, and sometimes we lose hope. We no longer know who is right or wrong, who is truly being stubborn, or whether the damage can ever be undone. For those times, I want to share this beautiful prayer by Joyce Rupp. It is called “Prayer for Peace in a Relationship”:
Dear Mender of Hearts, you are friend of all and foe of none. Your goodness is seeded in everyone, including those with whom I struggle. Enter into my heart and soften its hardness. Erase any ill will and anger abiding there. Help me to reach out with openness, to speak when I prefer hiding in silence. Teach me how to listen with loving ears and to not cling tenaciously to my opinions. Instill hope of reconciliation in our hearts and help us not give up on one another. Be the Patience within us that resolves issues. Be the Love among us that seeks forgiveness. Be the Faith amid us that strengthens our bonds. Be the Truce between us that brings us peace.