“And among the cities which ye shall give unto the Levites there shall be six cities for refuge, which ye shall appoint for the manslayer, that he may flee thither: and to them ye shall add forty and two cities”
God knew that sinful humans would at times do things by accident. He knew that there would be times when someone would die an accidental death at the hands of another. Because of this, God told Moses that there needed to be a place of refuge for the person who accidentally took the life of another. These places they set aside were called “cities for refuge.” As long as the manslayer fled to the city of refuge, he was safe from the hand of those who desired his life to be taken in the place of their loved one.
Though this city of refuge is talking about one person accidentally taking the life of another, I believe that this principle of having a city of refuge can apply to our relationships. Every marriage needs to have their city of refuge where they allow the mistakes of their spouse to reside. Every church member needs to have a city of refuge where they allow another Christian to reside in their heart when they feel they have been wronged. You will not build lasting and meaningful relationships without having cities of refuge in your relationships. Several observations can be made about the cities of refuge and your relationships.
First, God did not say that the person who fled to the city of refuge didn’t commit the infraction. In fact, the manslayer had killed someone, and that is why he had to flee to the city of refuge. People are going to wrong you, but you cannot allow the wrongs to end relationships every time someone hurts you. You are going to have to have a city of refuge for your spouse, parents, friends and fellow Christians to place their wrong into if you want those relationships to continue.
Second, the manslayer was safe as long as they stayed within the boundaries of the city of refuge. In other words, your city of refuge for those who wrong you is the agreement with yourself that you are not going to bring up the past continually. You can destroy your relationships by constantly bringing up the infractions others have committed against you, but if you do this you will surely destroy every relationship. On the other hand, you can let their wrong reside in the city of refuge and choose not to bring it up every time you have a disagreement with them. You will destroy your relationships with others if you don’t leave the disagreements alone. There are many people with whom I am good friends that we never bring up disagreements we may have had. Our friendship is more important that being right. We would rather let the wrong stay in the city of refuge and enjoy each other than to destroy the relationship by bringing up the past. My friend, let the past be the past and stop bringing up what others have done so you can win. If you have to win in every relationship disagreement, you will lose in the battle of lasting friendships. Be willing to let the wrongs be in the past.
Third, the manslayer could leave the city of refuge when the high priest died. Our High Priest has died which means you need to forgive and move on. I know there needs to be a time to heal, but at some point you must forgive and move on. Let me encourage you to let the forgiveness of God be present in every relationship. Be willing to let people have a bad day and forgive them. If you can learn to forgive, you and the person who’s wronged you can move on to more meaningful endeavors and build a meaningful relationship.