Part 3
The winter season is a time of rest. Many animals go into hibernation to rest for the winter, while the storms of life howl past them. The cold wet weather causes us to draw back inside while we strike up a cozy fireplace and sip hot cocoa. There are benefits and drawbacks to this time of rest. We either use this time to focus on the home and enjoy the winter holidays or we isolate ourselves from the world around us. The winter months make it difficult to keep up with our local friends just as
storms in friendships causes us to lose sight of friendly communication. We need to be on guard to protect our friendships during these troublesome times.
Winter Scene by nonpoppop, on Pix-O-Sphere

The most common strategy a Christian attempts to initiate when a storm pours down is to isolate. Isolation causes bitterness to take root and hibernate in our hearts. The interesting thing is that even during hibernation, growth occurs. A hibernating bear does not cease from growing during the winter months, try to disturb their sleep and you’ll have an angry bear coming after you. We must resist the urge to isolate.

This is where the enemy likes to take his place. The enemy of the heart is like a dragon who wants to creep into your heart while you’re in isolation and dig his talons deep into your hearts and continue to twist that pain deeper into your chest. Keeping yourself in that cold and bitter place can cause ‘frostbite’, which is bitterness. We need to stoke up the fireplace and thaw out. Wrap yourself in the warm embrace of the ‘most comforting blanket’ you have and gather around the ‘glowing fire’. Keep your heart warm by the love of Christ our Lord. The best way to avoid bitterness is to pray for the friend who hurt you. 

We are told by our Lord that love covers a multitude of sins. His sacrificial love is what it takes to keep the heart warm while a cold winter storm is raging. We may think that isolating ourselves in the basement and boarding up the windows to avoid the storm will keep us safe, but that’s not entirely true. I do agree that sometimes injured friendships needs some breathing room. Sometimes a little time apart can do some good, but I don’t recommend we stay there. There comes a time when
sharing some ‘hot cocoa’ can help break the ice again.

The warm mixture of sugar, cream, and chocolate, topped with whipped cream and marshmallows can add a sweet delightful taste to a cold heart. In Proverbs we learn that “..a gift in secret pacifieth anger…” This means to offer a gift without bragging to everyone else that you’ve done that. Let it be between you and the friend. The gift may not always be accepted at first, but keep it before our Lord in prayer and commit the friendship to Him.

He will do his work in their heart and keep your heart protected from the cold bitterness that seeks to destroy the love of Christ within you. The frost that builds upon a cold heart will begin to thaw when we allow His love and warmth to embrace us and we need to embrace Him right back.

Stay tuned for Part 4
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