I have a problem … or at least, have had a problem. It has to do with forgiveness. There is a person that I love very much but we have a way of getting at each other. It is generally in little things … she might not come and help right away when I call or maybe she does not wake up easily when she is supposed to. Or if you look through her eyes, I am bossy, controlling and talk ugly. So which of us is right?
Truthfully, we both are. We both have our bad moments, but that does not mean we should continue in this way.
“Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for edifying as the need may be, that it may give grace to them that hear.” Ephesians 4:29
“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and tumult, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, even as God also in Messiah forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31, 32 (emphasis added for you!)
“He that loves his brother abides in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.” 1 John 2:10
If you have not gotten the hint yet … something needs to change. I do! I need to forgive and forget. Plain and simple, we all should know this. But I have had a problem with the forgetting part. When the other person does something wrong, I normally, automatically, flare up (inside or outside) “You always talk ugly.” “Why do you always have to make a mess?” “Why won’t you ever help out?” or “Can’t you ever be nice?”
Each time I am bothered, the offense is added to a secret list in my brain. That list holds basically every wrong thing about her and is referred to when she does another one of those rude things.
It is kind of weird on my part though, to pray “Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all mine sins. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me” (Psalm 51:10,11) when I am not doing that for others!
“Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Matthew 6:12
“For if you forgive men their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if you do not forgive men their sins, neither will your Father forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14,15
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. 1 John 1:9
If I am to be forgiven of my many sins, I need to forgive. If I am going to really forgive, that list has to go … go as far as the east is to the west.
If you are beginning to see that there is something you need to change in a relationship, I will offer an idea I have used. I have come to the realization that it does not matter if we are a faithful friend, true encourager, or even a person who challenges others to live a better life … if we have not first tried to have a right relationship with our family.
When we are given the specifications for an elder in 1 Timothy 3, we see that they must rule (lead) their house and family well, BECAUSE if a man does not know how to lead his own house, how will he lead the Church?
In the same way, if we do not know how to be a friend at home what good will we accomplish, for the kingdom of heaven, outside of it? Now we need to be practical:
- Pray, not necessarily a short little prayer, but more like the prayer in Luke 18 that encourages us to pray until there is a change. Beg the Father to change you and heal your relationship.
- Write a list.Truthfully,Idonotlike this idea. Writing a list is not my strong point. To my dismay, for my school last year, I had to (or as my wonderful father likes to say, got to) sit down and think of each thing that I needed to do for our camping trip. I then wrote out a list and ended up enjoying the task. A very short version of it would be: My Bible, Purse, Turkish Coffee (pot, coffee, sucanat, measuring cups, drinking mugs, spoon), Prepare Challah mix, Put tzitzits on my orange skirt, Take my blanket, Wash my dog, etc. I would check off each thing as it was accomplished. Now in order to fight against that list in our brains write out each thing that bothers you about that “thorn in the flesh” (the one with a nose, two eyes, a mouth, hands and legs!). It could be the tone in which he/she speaks or the way he/she leave messes around.
- If you are struggling with someone, they are more than likely bothered by something about you. Explain to him/her that you want to put an end to the contention and ask him/her to write a list of the things about you that bother him/her. Pray with each other and ask your Father in heaven to forgive and help you (if he/ she does not want to, do not push it!).
- Forgive it. Go over each thing on the list and DETERMINE to forgive and forget what is in the past. If you notice the person you just forgave five minutes ago, has made a mess and is going on to something else, do not allow the past in your brain or out of your mouth; deal with the present. The past, is past.
Warning! Walking out a relationship is much more complicated and involved then a 1 2 3 stepped process. I believe the things above will help if you put them into practice, but they can also be the wagon without wheels, if you are not ready to really make things right. “I can do all things through Messiah who strengthens me”. Philippians 4:13
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us”. Romans 8:37.