Last week I wrote about peace. This week, the topic is one of its ugly opposites, strife. (Once again I’m drawing in part from a talk by Joyce Meyer.) While peace is powerful, strife is terrible. We all want to (or should want to!) keep it out of our lives. Remember this line from last week’s blog?
Avoid “acceptable sins” like jealousy and unforgiveness. How are you doing with that?
Are you jealous? Watch out! Read this:
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight” (James 4:1-2).
Are you ungrateful? I believe that’s often a close cousin to jealousy. I’ll be writing about gratitude soon!
Are you good at forgiveness? Satan wants us to believe we have every right to harbor unforgiveness, at least in certain circumstances. That’s a big fat lie. Are you mad at somebody? Have you broken off a relationship because you refuse to forgive? We tell ourselves we’re justified and in good company, that most Christians are mad at somebody. But we are never justified in our unforgiveness.
“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).
Can any of us truly say we have suffered a wrong greater than crucifixion? Dare we risk being refused forgiveness by our Father in heaven? Is there any excuse for blatantly ignoring God’s command to forgive? Maybe you want to forgive, but feel that you can’t. Love and forgiveness are not feelings, but decisions.
Decide to forgive. Pray for the person you need to forgive. Bless (and don’t curse) them. Be good to them. (Go on, make the devil mad.) Let God work, regardless of your feelings.
And when the bitter feelings come again, as they well might, start the process all over again.