Forgiveness - Resolving Conflict God’s Way
Life is full of changed plans, inconveniences, and let downs. Sometimes things outside of our control influence the events in our lives. People hurt us. Circumstances reroute our plans. In these times, every person faces the temptation to harbor bitterness or resentment toward others and God. God’s solution to bitterness is forgiveness. What principles should guide Christians as they consider cultivating forgiveness?
In this week’s episode of the Biblical Counseling Podcast Pastor Jeff Christianson and his wife, Jennie Christianson, continue their discussion on forgiveness. Whenever we respond to someone’s actions by taking offense, we are interpreting their actions as an injustice. In forgiveness, we look to the cross and acknowledge the call to let go of the offenses we hold, releasing our captives of their debts against us. In Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus challenges the disciples to offer forgiveness always to those who ask for it. Jesus shares his reasoning in a parable. In this parable, a king forgives a man an insurmountable debt, but the man later strangles a fellow servant over a petty fine. The principle here is clear--we must forgive others because we have been forgiven by God. Any offenses against us fail to compare to our offenses against God. God’s love and forgiveness challenges us to cultivate a love which covers a multitude of sins (1 Pet 4:8).
If someone finds themselves upset over someone’s actions, they must interpret their circumstances through Scripture. In light of Christ’s forgiveness of our sins, we are called to overlook the sins of others (Prov 19:11) and to cover their sins in love (1 Pet 4:8). If I cannot overlook or cover their sins must go to my brother and rebuke him (Luke 17:3-4). Jesus would rather have us overlook someone else’s sins or approach them to prevent unnecessary gossip and division within the body of Christ. Also, we must examine our frustrations biblically to ensure our frustrations are warranted. Sometimes our frustrations stem from circumstances that have upset us rather than someone sinning against us. If we are frustrated because something has upset us, this dynamic exposes selfish ambition in my heart (Jas 3:16). Often events cause frustration that are not sinful or clearly forbidden in Scripture. These events are merely the product of changed plans, inconveniences, and let-downs and the context to reveal the sinful content of my heart. If we cannot trace our frustrations back to Scripture or one of the commandments, we must examine our hearts for selfish ambition, self-centeredness and pride. If we know that someone has sinned against us, we must approach our brother and sister and work toward reconciliation.
Want to learn more? Listen to this podcast to hear Pastor Jeff and Jennie address:
- The different between “sinning against us” and “upsetting us”
- Examples of inconveniences which produce frustrations
- Our responsibility to pursue our brother or sister when they have sinned
What You'll Discover in this Episode:
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