miércoles, 15 de junio de 2011

Asking for forgiveness/forgiving...easier said than done.

by Jen González on Tuesday, June 14th 2011
Has your brother or sister in Christ offended you? Are you holding it against him/her? Have you even said anything to him/her about it? Are you avoiding him/her?

JESUS said in Luke 17:3-4 “If another BELIEVER SINS AGAINST YOU, rebuke that person (rebuke here means to bring it to their attention, not to be hard on them or harsh for the sake of being harsh but to let them know you were offended; to communicate it with the intention of seeking reconciliation); then IF THERE IS REPENTANCE, FORGIVE. (Forgiving is a command not an option) 4 Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, YOU MUST FORGIVE.”

Division continues to wreak havoc in our churches today. There are a lot of issues among believers because of simple misunderstandings or because of a lack of communication. Jesus here gives us specific instructions on HOW TO RESOLVE CONFLICT AMONG BELIEVERS. In Luke 17:3-4, He says “if your brother has sinned against you” in this case; it's as if they seem to be completely unaware of it. So Jesus tells the person that is offended what to do. has this ever happened to you? You find out that someone is offended with you and you had NO CLUE! Well, that's when we have to put aside our fears of rejection and conflict and put aside all the excuses and seek out our brother and look to comunicate with them with the purpose of reconcliing with them. Comunicating with the persons that have offended us is key, but not before we've gone to the Lord in prayer and released them from the offense. We also need to be ready to apologize for jumping to conclusions. Maybe we simply misunderstood the person, maybe he/she never meant (whatever they did) to purposefully hurt us. Maybe....but we won't know until we TALK to the person that has offended us.

But what about when we know, or we find out that our brother is offended with us? What then? Jesus taught us in Mathew 5:21-26 about being angry with our brother and what to do if we remember they are upset with us…He says in v.23-24 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and YOU SUDDENLY REMEMBER THAT SOMEONE HAS SOMETHING AGAINST YOU, 24 LEAVE YOUR SACRIFICE THERE AT THE ALTAR. GO AND BE RECONCILED TO THAT PERSON. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.”

So in both cases, whether we have been offended or we have been the one to offend another, the bible is CLEAR about what ACTIONS we are to take. Our number one motivator, the thing that should push us towards putting this word in to action in our lives is love and obedience towards God and His word AND love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Remember LOVE is a CHOICE, not a feeling.

Going back to Mathew 5, why is it so important that we “LEAVE our sacrifice there at the altar and GO and be RECONCILED to that person”? Jesus said in Mathew 6:14 “IF YOU FORGIVE THOSE WHO SIN AGAINST YOU, THEN your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 BUT IF YOU REFUSE TO FORGIVE others, YOUR FATHER WILL NOT FORGIVE YOUR SINS.” So if we want to be forgiven (and we all want this) we need to first forgive just as we've been forgiven.

We cannot continue to walk around in our own self-righteousness, selfishly looking at our own scars without stopping to think of how others have been offended by us. Here’s a thought/challenge for us all…how about we ask the Lord in prayer “Is there anyone that I have hurt Lord? How have I offended my brothers? Show me so that I can go and seek reconciliation and make peace with my brother, Show me so that they can be healed and move on and so that we can both learn from our mistakes and grow and mature in Christ.”

The truth is we don’t ask because we are afraid of His answer. We know that it will require that we go and humble ourselves and it puts us in a very vulnerable place. No one likes to feel vulnerable. We come up with a million excuses as to why we don’t need to seek them out. We say things like “It’s in the past, I’ve forgiven them already! No need to bring that back up” when in reality our BROTHER IS STILL HURTING AND GRIEVING because of something we did or said, or didn’t do, or should’ve done, whatever the case may be. This is contrary to the word of God. We need to see one another as Christ sees us, love as Christ loves us, be merciful and compassionate with one another, giving each other room to make mistakes and learn from our mistakes (Eph.4:2-3). It is inevitable, as long as we are in this body, the offenses will most certainly come, but it’s how we respond to those offenses that really matters at the end of the day.

Conclusion...Let's ask God to examine our hearts, to show us if there is anyone that we need to make peace with and let's GO and be RECONCILED with our brothers. Let's not let our pride and fear get in the way of doing God's will. Instead of focusing on how we have been wronged and wallowing in self pitty, let's communicate with our brothers and make every effort to be at peace with all men (Heb.12:14).

Food for thought:

■James 1:19 “be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry because Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”

■Hebrews 12:14-15 “Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.

■Mathew 5:9 “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.

■James 2:13 “There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.

■James 3:17-18 “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.”

In His Love, your sister in Christ :)


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