Sunday, August 29, 2010

Digging the heels in--doesn't work anymore..

Don't you HATE being the one that seems to ALWAYS give in, first? Once, just ONCE I would like for the OTHER party to apologize first.

Unfortunately, this sort of mindset causes my stomach to churn--believe me--I've had those mind sets often enough. Every time I dig my heels in, and vow to not give in first, a couple of scriptures always, but ALWAYS come to mind:

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiven one another, even as in Christ, God forgave you" Ephesians 4:32

"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity" Colossians 13-14

I know I'm being a big whiner when I stamp my foot. God doesn't let up, though. Once, just ONCE I would like for others to acknowledge the wrong they've imparted to me. Am I the only one that feels that way? Surely not?

But you know? I hate feeling like that. I hate feeling that I want to be the one that gets the apology; I hate feeling that I resent having to apologize even when I wasn't in the wrong. C'mon... I'm not alone in this, am I?

Apparently not. The verses mentioned above come from the Apostle Paul writing to the saints a Ephesus, and at Colossi. For him to have written that in the first place, can we correctly infer that there was some unforgiveness going on with both parties involved?

I think about my relationship with God. Back in the day, when I thought I had to get forgiveness doled out to me in increments, I was ashamed to go to him and admit that I'd gone and fouled again. Might've been in my thoughts or an actual deed, but I knew I'd messed up, and was ashamed to face God. So, can you imagine my relief, when I found out that He wasn't holding it against me to begin with? It wasn't that He ignored any of my sin. No--quite the contrary--He already knew all about it, and had it taken care of at the cross through Christ. Why? Out of love for me. Out of love for you, and all the rest of humanity.

That's a typical reaction. If we think someone is mad at us.. we'd rather not face them. Sometimes, we might deserve their anger, and at other times, their anger may be unjustified. Either way--do you really want to be around that person, knowing how they feel about you? I don't. In fact, I'd rather be as far from them as I can possibly get.

Thankfully, God doesn't stop with us. As His disciples, we're constantly being disciplined (can you see the relation between the two words?) Eventually, there will be a time when we don't have to put with anyone else's garbage, and they won't have to put up with ours. In the meantime, we're told to forgive as we've been forgiven.

Sure, we can choose not to. Scripture plainly says all things are permissible, but not all are profitable; and holding on to grudges are one of those 'not profitable' things. Not only does it churn on us as individuals, it can be like a parasite feeding off of the Body of Christ, causing disharmony within.

If you have ought against your brother, go to him. If he'll be reconciled, you'll have gained a brother.
I know it's not easy... believe me. But it will be worth it in the long run, for you, the offending party, and for those who have to live around you both.

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