I’m pretty non-confrontational. I don’t like to ruffle feathers, nor do I like my feathers ruffled, but push my buttons one too many times, and I’ve been known to give a pretty good chunk of my mind to an unfortunate ear. I’m not proud of that. I’ve been on the receiving end of some grudges though. I’d readily say that some are warranted, but most are not. Most times I sense a grudge being held over me, regarding me or about me, and I don’t have a clue why! (Now I know how my husband feels when I expect him to read my mind!!) What most concerns me, though, is how often we say we love our brother or sister in Christ and then they do one thing we don’t like, or we have an argument and we’ll hold grudges until we are blue in the face. God forbid, we say we’re sorry first! I’ve been in churches where people will say, “I love you” but you walk past them in the hall and they will not even speak, or silent grudges will fester and the grudge receiver has no clue, leaving the grudge holder, in the long run, wasting away in an ugly bitterness. Oh, but God has a better way!!
About three weeks ago, I was going to get my four year from school and I looked over and saw that my Blackberry was blinking that I had a new message. I’m not for looking at my phone while driving, but as I stopped at the red light across from school, my curiosity got the best of me and I saw I had a new Facebook message from a young lady I knew about 8 years ago. We small talk on Facebook from time to time, but it was unusual for her to write a message, so I was even more curious. I waited until I got to school to read the message and what I read literally shook me to the core. You see, those 8 years ago represented a great heartache for Jeff and me. We saw a ministry we loved crumble due to conflict within the church. It’s a long story, but our family went through a very dark and ugly time. Nasty words were spoken against us and we saw our time there come to an end. A lot of years and a lot of trust in God has brought tremendous healing of our hearts, but I’ve admittedly had a constant prayer on my heart…”Please, Lord, show me someone that will ask for forgiveness.” I can remember dwelling on it and blaming my wounded heart on everyone else. God brought both Jeff and me to a point that we realized, “hurt people, hurt people.” Because we were hurt, we often said things that were not edifying, or were gossip. We have since humbled ourselves before God and asked His forgiveness. That forgiveness was the ultimate healing in our lives, which brings me to the point of my story. That sweet girl, three weeks ago, wrote me the most heartfelt, humble and honest message asking for our forgiveness for how our family was hurt those 8 years ago. Do you know how old she was when we left? About 13!!! Can I tell you that God used that tender heart of hers to free me? Sure, I’ve lived a productive life since that hurt, though at times I found it crippling, but the one constant remained, “Lord, please show me that you have changed someone’s heart and they’ll ask for forgiveness.” Forgiveness. It’s more than saying you’re sorry. It shows humility.
The following was my Facebook status today…“A healthy Church is one where its family resolves their conflicts. Is there a fellow believer you need to approach in love and settle differences? The Scripture says, “What you say to one another is eternal.” Why do you think that is? Do you think when we have unforgiveness in our hearts that we show the world God is love? When the world sees us unable to resolve our differences, not speaking to one another or spending more time bashing our brother or sister in Christ, will they hear us when we tell them how much God loves them? I desire for my church to be the most healthy place it can be, but this is not possible if we are holding grudges against one another. Do you have someone in your life that your holding a grudge over? Are you using manipulation or intimidation to rule over another? Matthew 18:15-19 is our guide for resolving conflict. Go to your brother or sister TODAY and do things God’s way. Forgiveness brings healing, joy and like my friend from 8 years ago, it restores friendships. Our unwillingness to resolve differences can have a huge stranglehold on another. Free up a life today to soar because you were willing to drop your pride and ask for forgiveness.