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005: Forgiveness – Resolving Conflict God’s Way

Forgiveness – Resolving Conflict God’s Way

There are many heart dispositions which are essential for conflict resolution. We cannot wait until conflict comes to address the condition of our hearts. One of the foundational elements of conflict resolution is forgiveness. While one may not be surprised to see forgiveness discussed around conflict resolution, the counselor, counselees, and Christians must cultivate a heart of forgiveness for effective conflict resolution. How does forgiveness prepare our hearts for conflict resolution? 

In this week’s episode of the Biblical Counseling Podcast, Pastor Jeff Christianson and Jennie Christianson explore the nature of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a foundational component of conflict resolution and has been given to us by Christ. If we allow the Lord to develop and build certain foundational character traits in ourselves, we are learning and applying essential qualities to handling relationships and conflict resolution in a biblical way. 

Mastering the art of forgiveness allows us to handle relationships and conflicts in a biblical way. Christians who have been forgiven much should be masters of forgiving much. In Luke 17:3-4, Jesus instructs us on how to approach forgiveness. In light of his forgiveness of our sins, we must be willing to accept at face value any forgiveness extended to us by others. Even if we have doubts or concerns about the genuineness of the forgiveness, we must accept it at face value and by faith in the God of forgiveness. 

Pastor Jeff and Jennie remind us that forgiveness is a choice. Many times people say that they don’t feel like forgiving. Luke 17:3-4 instructs us that forgiveness is not a feeling but a choice to release someone’s debt from your heart. Forgiveness is a promise to never bring up someone’s offense again and a choice to move forward. We must remember what our lives communicate when we struggle to offer forgiveness. Our ability to extend forgiveness communicates something about the forgiveness God has given to us. If we struggle to offer forgiveness, what does that say about God’s forgiveness? 

Whenever someone harms us, we must extend forgiveness to prevent bitterness from taking root in our hearts. We can also lean into God’s sovereignty, knowing that he uses everything in our lives--even situations where we must forgive--for our good. We demonstrate our trust in God by granting forgiveness to others.  

Want to learn more? Listen to this podcast to hear Pastor Jeff and Jennie address:

  • The nature of forgiveness
  • Tips for offering forgiveness
  • Ways to fight against the root of bitterness

What You'll Discover in this Episode:

  • Forgiveness is a choice, it is moved by a decision of the will, not of the emotions
  • God's forgiveness is a model for us to forgive others
  • Forgiveness is a promise and act of the will
  • Meditating on the Lord's word will Help us to forget the sin that was done against us  
  • All things work together for the good of God 


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  • Ann-Louise Graham says:

    Thank you pastor Jeff for the summary reminder.
    It’s both depressing and liberating thinking about the influence of humanistic psychology especially in Western culture. I recently resigned from a position as a CBT therapist. Humanistic psychology fails to go to the heart of the human condition – our need to repent of our sin and our need for a saviour – the Lord Jesus. In other words it fails to point out that we are incapable of saving ourselves!
    But, perhaps, worse than that it can cover over our failures and gives them names that excuse our failures; once more hindering us from turning to God in repentance and receiving the forgiveness, grace, mercy and sanctification that only He is capable of offering.

  • Rev.Rick says:

    The enemy wants to stop the light from going forth because of the high level of warfare that’s effectively demonstrated when truth penetrates the human spirit and enlightens a person’s mind.
    There’s power in the proclamation of the Gospel to snatch a person right out of a lifetime of bondage and plant his feet firmly on the right path, where there is light for his feet, freedom for his mind, strength and resolve for his will, and vision for a bright future. That’s what God’s Word can do, so it’s no wonder that Satan tries to stop the preaching, teaching, and ministry of the Word! Mental, emotional, and spiritual strongholds are demolished when the Word of God is proclaimed!
    Now you can better see why Paul would go to such great lengths to urge and admonish Timothy to “stay put” — to remain in his place of ministry, or stay at his post. It’s obvious that he wouldn’t exhort Timothy to stay put somewhere unless Timothy was being tempted not to stay put. Believers in the church of Ephesus were suffering intense persecution for their faith in Christ. But Paul said to Timothy, “You be instant” or, “Stay at your post! Don’t leave the position where God placed you!”
    Then Paul’s next words — “in season, out of season” — give us further clues as to why remaining continually stationed where God places us is so important. The phrase “in season” was translated from the Greek word eukairos, which basically means in good times.
    For those of us in the ministry, it’s so much nicer to preach when everyone in the congregation is on our side and thinks we’re great! When everything in the church or ministry is running smoothly with no challenges to distract us, those are good times! But when people in the church start gossiping about us and about each other; when newspapers are writing stories about us or a family member that are untrue; or when your well-being, or the well-being of your family, is threatened either financially or physically — those are not very good times.
    That’s why Paul said we need to stay at our posts even when things seem to be “out of season.” That phrase was translated from the word akairos, and that prefix a puts a negative spin on kairos. It means when things have changed and they are NOT so wonderful. The whole phrase could be translated “in good times and bad times!”
    What are you supposed to do when pleasant times begin to shift? What do you do when dark storm clouds begin to form in skies that just moments before were clear and blue? You do the same thing you were doing before when times were good! You remain at your post, refusing to budge!
    In fact, Paul wrote previously in Second Timothy 3:14, “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.” In other words, Paul was telling Timothy, “Don’t you budge! Don’t move from the place where God has called you. Stay put!”
    Paul wrote these words to Timothy, but through these Spirit-inspired writings, He is also saying to us: “Stay at your post and don’t budge an inch! Stay there and do what God has told you to do when times are good — and if times turn bad, remain steady and unflinching.” One thing is sure: If you’ll remain faithful to the call and to the place where God has assigned you — if you will decide to stay put and refuse to budge an inch — He will empower you with inner strength that will enable you to see that divine assignment through to a glorious conclusion!

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