The other day, one of our boys built a large house out of toy building blocks. It was magnificent, it had a driveway, a garage, even trees growing on the roof. Another one of our boys, playing in the room, for some unknown reason felt the urge to kick the house down. That precipitated loud screams and yells from the first boy who proceeded to chase his brother through the house until he tackled him. The screaming brought me onto the scene, I pulled the two wrestling participants apart and calmed everyone down. I got the true story and asked the boy who kicked the house down to say he was sorry. The second boy forgave him, they hugged each other and went back to playing together. The animosities of a few minutes before were forgiven and forgotten. Wouldn’t it be great if adults forgave each other that easily?
However, as adults, when someone has wronged us, we often find it easy to hold a grudge. We may say things like, “I could never forgive them for what they did to me.” Or we may say, “I can forgive but I can’t forget.” Maybe, we just keep an internal record of wrongs, keeping score as the relationship deteriorates. When wrongs have been done in a relationship and they remain unreconciled, you have a damaged relationship. If those wrongs continue being unreconciled, if new wrongs are added to them, eventually the relationship may be completely destroyed. In addition, if you are the one who has been hurt and you have not practiced forgiveness, your own life will be destroyed, spiritually, emotionally and often physically. Damaged relationships are serious business.
God wants us to learn what to do to restore damaged relationships and to learn how to release ourselves from the grip of unforgiveness. Here’s the basic principle from God’s Word. NLT Colossians 3:13 You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
Take a quick inventory of your life. Is there anyone in your life who you hold a grudge against? Is it possible for your mind and emotions to be released from the pain of what someone else has done to you? The Bible teaches that it is possible, through the power of forgiveness.
To hear more about this topic, listen to my February 27, 2005 message entitled Restoring Damaged Relationships