God is a god who reconciles broken relationships. Our sinful tendencies want us to believe this lie that it is impossible to forgive a person. We feel hurt and broken and upset and dejected and bitter and cut and hurt when someone cuts us deeply, regardless of intentionality. Sin damages relationships all the time and we just stand there and watch on the sidelines, silently thinking that it is hopeless to redeem. But it is not.
We have a few choices:
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation- 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
1. It’s easy to ignore someone and not care about them. Sometimes we justify it by saying they would react badly. We feel proud that we are indifferent because that is the convenient thing to do. To not feel anything at all. Now, it’s easy to move on with our lives. We can move forward with this new chapter. We know the truth but we blurt out that forgiveness is too idealistic, that the world isn’t like this, that life isn’t like this. It’s true in a sense but our feelings distort God’s truth. Because God isn’t like this. And if God acted like we feel, we wouldn’t be here.
2. After the begrudgingly “magic” mutters of “I forgive you,” we check it off the list and move on because that’s the “good Christian” thing to do. We want other people to think we are admirable and a “good person.” But out of the mouth, the heart speaks (Matthew 15:18 ). We murder the person in our hearts(1 John 3:15). God is a god who reconciles sinners to Himself (Romans 5:10). This is where the truth of the gospel comes into play. He never gives up on people, and neither should we.
3. We proceed to take the side of one sinner, not willing to reconcile the two. We see the situation through the lens of a sinner, instead of the gospel. We make it into a war pitting each sinner against each other. It is not okay to have skewed views of each other and preconceived judgments and misunderstandings. This not only wrecks the family of God, but also the our future family since we know that God loves those who are waiting to be reconciled to Him. Each person feels like a victim. But we are not the victims. The real victims are those who lack faith in a powerful God who reconciles children to each other.
4. We look to Christ. How many times have we wronged him and betrayed him? The man of sorrows feels a deeper pain, a deeper loss, a deeper hurt than we can never imagine (Isaiah 53:3). We must not let this sin damage our relationships. Because we know that all of these relationships will eventually be reconciled. We can choose that reconciliation now or in heaven. Either way, we know the outcome. God is going to get His way eventually. Plead to Christ, our great high priest, to give the grace and strength to cast our sin away and to die to ourselves (Hebrews 4:14). Let us shift our mind towards an eternal view. So let us cease to silently murder image bearers of God in our heart. Essentially, we must die to ourselves so we can truly live (Galatians 2:20). Let us not view the gospel as insufficient. Let us not have a lack of faith by shaking our heads and giving up. Although our hearts are weary, let us take every remaining strength we have to lift our eyes towards Christ. Let us acknowledge that we are all broken sinners continually being sanctified. What is sanctification if it’s putting up and loving broken sinners? What is the gospel if it does not have the power to reconcile people to each other and to Christ? Because of the gospel, “We can go bravely into battle, knowing that He has already won.”
Gives me the chills every time. So good.
23 Things that Love Is
- LOVE IS… being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of others without impatience or anger.
- LOVE IS… actively fighting the temptation to be critical and judgmental toward another while looking for ways to encourage and praise.
- LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to resist the needless moments of conflict that come from pointing out and responding to minor offenses.
- LOVE IS… being lovingly honest and humbly approachable in times of misunderstanding.
- LOVE IS… being more committed to unity and understanding than you are to winning, accusing, or being right.
- LOVE IS… a making a daily commitment to admit your sin, weakness, and failure and to resist the temptation to offer an excuse or shift the blame.
- LOVE IS… being willing, when confronted by another, to examine your heart rather than rising to your defense or shifting the focus.
- LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to grow in love so that the love you offer to another is increasingly selfless, mature, and patient.
- LOVE IS… being unwilling to do what is wrong when you have been wronged, but looking for concrete and specific ways to overcome evil with good.
- LOVE IS… being a good student of another, looking for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs so that in some way you can remove the burden, support them as they carry it, or encourage them along the way.
- LOVE IS… being willing to invest the time necessary to discuss, examine, and understand the relational problems you face, staying on task until the problem is removed or you have agreed upon a strategy of response.
- LOVE IS… being willing to always ask for forgiveness and always being committed to grant forgiveness when it is requested.
- LOVE IS… recognizing the high value of trust in a relationship and being faithful to your promises and true to your word.
- LOVE IS… speaking kindly and gently, even in moments of disagreement, refusing to attack the other person’s character or assault their intelligence.
- LOVE IS… being unwilling to flatter, lie, manipulate, or deceive in any way in order to co-opt the other person into giving you what you want or doing something your way.
- LOVE IS… being unwilling to ask another person to be the source of your identity, meaning, and purpose, or inner sense of well-being, while refusing to be the source of theirs.
- LOVE IS… the willingness to have less free time, less sleep, and a busier schedule in order to be faithful to what God has called you to be and to do as a spouse, parent, neighbor, etc.
- LOVE IS… a commitment to say no to selfish instincts and to do everything that is within your ability to promote real unity, functional understanding, and active love in your relationships.
- LOVE IS… staying faithful to your commitment to treat another with appreciation, respect, and grace, even in moments when the other person doesn’t seem deserving or is unwilling to reciprocate.
- LOVE IS… the willingness to make regular and costly sacrifices for the sake of a relationship without asking for anything in return or using your sacrifices to place the other person in your debt.
- LOVE IS… being unwilling to make any personal decision or choice that would harm a relationship, hurt the other person, or weaken the bond of trust between you.
- LOVE IS… refusing to be self-focused or demanding, but instead looking for specific ways to serve, support, and encourage, even when you are busy or tired.
- LOVE IS… daily admitting to yourself, the other person, and God that you are unable to be driven by a cruciform love without God’s protecting, providing, forgiving, rescuing, and delivering grace.
- Paul Tripp
vivification: building yourself up in Christ, stirring your affections [ … ] finding those things that stir up your affections towards Jesus Christ. Filling your life with what stirs your affections for Jesus Christ so that you, more and more and more and more and more, see him as lovely, see him as beautiful and see him as good.
4 Promises of Forgiveness
"Through forgiveness God tears down the walls that our sins have built, and he opens the way for a renewed relationship with him. This is exactly what we must do if we are to forgive as the Lord forgives us: We must release the person who has wronged us from the penalty of being separated from us. We must not hold wrongs against others, not think about the wrongs, and not punish others for them. Therefore, forgiveness may be described as a decision to make four promises:
- "I will not dwell on this incident."
- "I will not bring up this incident again and use it against you."
- "I will not talk to others about this incident."
- "I will not let this incident stand between us or hinder our personal relationship."
By making and keeping these promises, you can tear down the walls that stand between you and your offender. You promise not to dwell on or brood over the problem or to punish by holding the person at a distance. You clear the way for your relationship to develop unhindered by memories of past wrongs. This is exactly what God does for us, and it is what he calls us to do for others.”
Nothing I suffer will come close to Jesus’ suffering for me. Woe to me for grumbling.
Christ is glorified in me when people see he is more precious to me than all that life can give or death can take.
Give me Christ.
Oh, how I long for the day when faith becomes sight. As the apostle Paul writes, ” Christ who is your life. (Colossians 3:4). We serve. We love. We live… for this God who we’ve never seen.
And when this life passes away, we get to raise our trembling heads and lift our eyes towards our Creator. Then fall face down because His glory is overwhelms us. We get to see the One who we’ve been living for. We get to see our Christ. Christ who is our life. As believers, we FINALLY get to see the love of our life. Crazy beautiful.
Work is a glorious thing. If you are starting to grow lazy, I summon you back to joy. God made us to work. He formed our minds to think and our hands to make. He gave us strength — little or great — to be about the business of altering the way things are.
That is what work is: seeing the world, thinking of how it could be better, and doing something — from the writing of a note to the building of a boat; from the sewing of what you wear to the praying of a prayer.
Come, leave off sloth and idleness. Become what you were made to be. Work.