I will never forgive her! An argument between two friends causes pain and lonely isolation with pride and stubbornness preventing a solution. Rather than examine the damage caused by foolish words and actions they paint themselves into a corner where the words spoken never lose their power to hurt!
God’s answer to relationship breakdown is radical. Has someone caused you deep hurt – forgive them! Look for change and life changing sorrow but offer forgiveness even if it is not present. Have your life choices brought disaster into someone’s life? Seek forgiveness from the other person. Do not choose a path of bitterness and self justification.
Forgiveness is not a blind naivety but a choice to place failure and mistakes on the forgotten bookshelf in the pursuit of relationship. Such mercy draws a line across the issues treating them as history that will not be referred to again.
This is God’s template in reaching out to us. Sin forced a chasm of separation that people could not solve and God’s way of dealing with our rebellion was to send the Son he loved to a certain death so that rebels (like us) could be absolutely forgiven. He did not wait on us coming to our right mind and searching for him. He sought out those who opposed him and with love brought them into an experience of closeness. Relationship is so important to God that Jesus had to die.
Psalm 103 puts in like this; The LORD is merciful! He is kind and patient, and his love never fails. The LORD won't always be angry and point out our sins; he doesn't punish us as our sins deserve. How great is God's love for all who worship him? Greater than the distance between heaven and earth! How far has the LORD taken our sins from us? Farther than the distance from east to west!
Follow God’s approach. If you are the offender or the offended go to the other person and seek or offer forgiveness. Don’t protest your own innocence. Go to the estranged person and put it right!
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
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Sundays at 11.00 am
Wednesday 8.00 pm
Newry Baptist Church
31-33 Lower Catherine Street