Living Faith is one of my favorite devotional books that I read each day and the message from August 12th is amazing!!! Read on and see what I mean:
"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone."
"Often when someone hurts us, we react in the moment with indignation and pride. It can happen so quickly, we don't consider whether we have been complicit in the conflict.
Christ is the King of Peace. Peace is not winning an argument. It's not inducing shame or ganging up on people who have strayed to make them feel stupid. Peace is humility, gentleness and a disposition of mercy towards those who have lost their way.
In the rare case that someone has sinned against us without provocation, we need to acknowledge that we have human dignity, that there are certain behaviors that are unacceptable and should not be inflicted on any child of God, including ourselves.
When we confront the person, it is not to re-create them in our own image or to demand their perfect contrition, but to offer an opportunity for reconciliation, just as the King of Peace has reconciled us to him, in spite of our unworthiness." (Written by Elizabeth Duffy)
Think about someone or something that has hurt you deeply recently....was indignation your first reaction or did pride step in and take over??? Were you even able to stop and look at the situation from a different perspective? Namely, the other person's perspective??? And, did you realize you had a part in the chasm as well? That's right! It takes two to tango. Consciously or unconsciously we all contribute to a situation which goes the opposite of what we are expecting or wanting to happen. And, many time we are not communicating in a way that the other person realizes we are hurt or that we hurt someone else. It is amazing to me how often this happens between us humans!!!
As believers in Christ, we are called to be Ambassadors for Christ and offer forgiveness not just once, but seventy by seven times. That's right 490 times to one person even if they do the same offense over and over and over again....seventy by seven times!!! That is a lot of forgiveness that needs to go around this world. It sounds extremely difficult and very large-hearted, doesn't it??? It sounds impossible to many as well....But, when Jesus' answer in Matthew 18:21 to the question: "How often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus' answer was clear - YES, and then some!!! At the heart of his reply is an understanding that there is NO end to God's forgiveness. None! There is no counting, no calculating, no limits, no score-keeping of our faults or wrongdoings. None. We are to forgive others no matter what - no matter what the offense. Our court system would certainly be a little less harried, wouldn't you say??? Can you imagine if we who call ourselves Christians would actually follow through and do what we are asked to do: Forgive others as we have been forgiven. God in His mercy permanently puts away the calculator and the scoreboard - can we???
Forgiveness and reconciliation....wow! What an awesome gift to offer the next time you get hurt or accidentally hurt someone else. When was the last time you forgave a hurt that broke your heart? Or, are you still nursing that grudge, resentment, anger and/or bitterness. Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. And, it is the best one we can offer!!! Peace be with you......