God's truth for today's world

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 message entitled Restoring Damaged Relationships

Everyone of us is hurt from time to time. Sometimes we are hurt intentionally by others and sometimes unintentionally. Some hurts are little and within a short time we forget about them. What I want to talk about are the times when we are hurt and time doesn’t seem to bring healing. Every time we think of the person who hurt us, the pain and anger wells up inside again. Most people do not know what to do and continue to live with the pain, which often gets worse with time. I believe that there are two things God wants you to do when you are hurt. If you do these two things, God will bring healing into your life.

The first thing to do when you are hurt is the simplest, but often overlooked. Simply pray and ask for God to help you. There is great power in prayer. Life Church has many people attending who are unchurched. They are always so amazed the first time they give a prayer request to our prayer team and God answers the prayer, often very quickly. God is there to help, if we will but ask Him and oftentimes humble ourselves to ask others to pray.

The second thing to do when you are hurt is more difficult, it does not come naturally. When you are hurt, God wants to teach you to forgive the person who hurt you. Many people have trouble with forgiveness, they think that forgiveness is letting the other person off the hook. Forgiveness is really about letting you off the hook, the hook of unforgiveness. An increasing number of scientific studies are now documenting that unforgiveness is a key factor in many sicknesses and that people who forgive are more healthy.

What is forgiveness? Forgiveness is simply yielding your right to get even with the person who hurt you. It is not saying that what they did was right, it is not saying that God will let them off the hook. It is giving up on revenge and praying for them. How can you forgive when the hurt is great? You can forgive as you remember that God has forgiven you. You can forgive when you acknowledge that God is in control. Nothing that anyone will ever do to you can thwart God’s plan for your life. God is able to take even the worst of the hurts and turn it around for good for those who love God.

Recently, I read an amazing story about two men, Tass and Moran, who forgave one another and became lifelong friends. Tass was a Palestinian Arab, trained by the Fatah as a sniper to kill Jews. Moran was a Israeli soldier who had seen many of his friends killed by a suicide bomber. Each man, one a Muslim, one a Jew, became a Christian upon reading the Bible. God allowed them to meet one another and through a process of reconciliation and forgiveness, made possible by God’s grace alone, they became close friends. The answer to broken relationships, the answer to hurts in your life, the answer to problems between nations is found in Jesus. He has forgiven us, so we can forgive others.

TEV Eph. 4:32 Forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.