Refreshment in Refuge
by Gina Burgess
… can you tell if it was intentional or if it was in reaction to something or someone other than you? How often do husbands and wives react to a situation and the spouse suddenly takes it personally, as if the attack was staged and waged purposely to inflict as much pain as possible? Relationships of all kinds suffer from thoughtless reactions to situations, or tactless words.
Do you snap back without even thinking it through? I've done it plenty of times and to my dear sweet mother, too! There has been a recurring theme to my columns dealing with forgiveness because I know it is the hardest thing to do beyond loving the unlovely that a Christian must do. It isn’t a suggestion, it is a command that has serious consequences if ignored of disobeyed.
Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors… 14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
While we are assured that God has given us eternal life when we believe, there are certain conditions which are required for our close relationship with God to remain open and unobstructed. Being unforgiving is a sin that causes all kinds of consequences just as unconfessed sin does.
Well, when a brother or a sister has a field day with your feelings...
Pause. Before spewing out all the venom that has boiled up inside because of hurt and anger, pause before saying anything. For Christians, there is something that always works to calm the mind and make the blood temperature go down. Say the first ten words of the Lord’s Prayer. Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. It is much better than counting to ten; and it will give you pause to remember Who is supposed to be in charge. Saying those ten words calls to mind the love and grace that has been poured all over us, so those feelings of hurt, betrayal, or wounded pride shan’t take over the mind. We can quickly settle into depression if we allow our thoughts to wallow around in the pig pen of the uglies.
Pray. Not only did David pour out his feelings to God upon every occasion, he wrote down his prayers of joy, praise and desperation. Psalm 69:1…Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck… 4Those who hate me without a cause Are more than the hairs of my head; They are mighty who would destroy me, Being my enemies wrongfully; Though I have stolen nothing, I still must restore it. 5 O God, You know my foolishness; And my sins are not hidden from You.
Pour out every feeling because He knows them anyway. Ask God for guidance in how to respond. You know He'll say, forgive. That's a given when dealing within the Body. Don't even think differently because Jesus spoke plainly about that to Peter in Matthew 18:21-22.
Matthew 18:21 Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" 22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Proclaim. Tell your sibling in Christ, the person who hurt you, exactly how you feel. Do not let the sun go down on your anger! Be as direct and as explicit as you can, but spread it all over with kindness. Exactly where did being mean ever get you? Consider that the hurt should stop with you and not let it keep spreading like cancer; and remember the Hatfields and the McCoys forgot what the feud was about, but kept the anger and hatred burning hot which did nothing for peace and everything for war. That’s the way the world behaves. Our Father raised us better than that.
Pacify. When an apology comes forth—it does not matter how it comes—accept it graciously and then let the thing go! Create that calm atmosphere that is a part of the Spirit’s fruit. Peace is our gift from God and it passes all understanding. There are 369 verses in the Bible containing the word peace from Genesis to Revelation. It is something those who do not possess Jesus do not know in the core of their being. It is precious, and we are commanded to greet our brothers and sisters in peace.
Holding grudges only makes you miserable and completely spoils your peace and totally destroys the beautiful relationship with Father. It is so self-absorbed and self-directed, as well as a tool of Satan’s which he wields craftily. Disarm him by turning your back on those feelings, and remembering what Jesus did and said on the cross. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Through His anguish, He begged forgiveness for them who were not believers. Can we not do the same for the family of God?
Praise God and rejoice in having your sibling restored to you! Listen... you will spend eternity with this sibling so you might as well learn how to get along while still here on earth. Amen? Come on and say AMEN!
Question for you: How has forgiving someone transformed your life?
"God's Words For US" from
God In Our MidstRead Article »
She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.
If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection
Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and eBookChristian.com
Receive the newest devotional each week in your inbox by joining the "Refreshment in Refuge" subscription list. Enter your email address below, click "Go!" and we will send you a confirmation email. Follow the instructions in the email to confirm your addition to this list.