I am grieved. I am hurt and sad, and I think I share company with the Holy Spirit on this one.
I just finished a conversation with someone I work with, and here is what I discovered: She is angry and resentful toward someone else in the Body, and refuses to go to that person to resolve it.
I discovered this when I got a bit blasted because of my relationship/response to this other person. That hurt. It did. I had acted in love, trying to do what was best for someone, and I got smacked for it. But that's not why I'm grieved.
I am grieved because someone in the body of Christ is willingly entertaining sin in her life and in the process, she is breaking the unity that Christ Himself declared as His intent when He prayed to the Father for us (see John 17:20-21). She does this (at least now) despite having been urged strongly to go to that person and resolve the problem. And as she carries this bitterness around with her, she begins to taint and weaken not only her own self, but the whole of the Body.
And thus, I hurt. Jesus' prayer was specifically related to these kinds of things--there should be no protracted periods of anger, bitterness, etc., among us. Why? Because when we live there, we cease to be a witness of Jesus to this broken, sin-filled world that so desperately needs to know that He has come (see John 17:23)! We cease to declare that there is LIFE to be had in the midst of this cesspool of death in which we live.
Don't misunderstand. I'm not angry with this woman. I'm not saying I haven't done exactly the same thing, 'cause I am opposed to lyin' and that would be a big one. What I am saying is that my heart longs for us to live as Jesus called us to so that we might reflect the light of His glory to a world full of walking corpses. I ache that we, who have been cured from the cancer of sin, eagerly imbibe it again and again, willing the disease back into our very own selves, and thus into this Body of which we are a part.
I cannot make this woman release her anger and bitterness (though I wouldn't mind if she didn't release it on me again (-;), but I can and will pray. This I know: The God who cured us can drain the poison we drink anew. Jesus has promised to someday present His pure Bride to His Father. And He knows well what it will take to make us pure: His very own life, which He has already willingly given. Therefore, I do not lose heart, for He who has promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).
May it all be to the praise of His glorious grace.
"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them." --John 17:20-26