My husband and I recently returned home from a whirlwind week of two family funerals and a vacation. Both of the funerals and the vacation reminded us of how important our family is to us and how much we should stay connected and allow bygones to be bygones. The funerals reminded us of this for the obvious reason, but the vacation reminded us of this because we stayed with family members whose hospitality went above and beyond to make sure we enjoyed our stay. This week made me realize that being there for each other is what family is for. We’re supposed to be there for each other in the good times (vacations), and the bad times (funerals). Without family, life is incomplete, and holding grudges and harboring unforgiveness of any kind just depletes both time and happiness that we'll never be able to get back.
God designed families and friends for the specific purpose of uniting people to each other in order to show His Love on Earth. Even though there are many other reasons why forgiveness is necessary, even if we just focus on the aforementioned reason alone, we realize that it is of the utmost importance to make sure we forgive others when we are offended in order to display the love of God.
I come from a very tight-knit family where cousins are like sisters and brothers, but even we’ve gone through some challenges that threatened to break some of those firm bonds. We all have to make a choice not to let satan infiltrate our family, and put all offenses aside. My point is that family is right under God in the hierarchy, and if you have a broken relationship with a family member, I challenge you to make it right. Let's repair or create that bond that God meant for us to enjoy when He birthed us into our families. No one knows when our short amount of time here on Earth will end, so we have to love each other to no end and make sure we don’t allow satan to divide us.
Just think about it; if that family member who offended you to the point of not speaking to them anymore passed away today, would the offense even matter? No, I don’t think so. Let’s choose not to be offended, talk to that family member about the issue, and let’s continue to love each other.
Sometimes we harbor unforgiveness for a friend, co-worker, or acquaintance and it's just as damaging as being unforgiving toward a family member. If you’ve ever had to go through a situation where someone deeply hurt you, and you felt like they seemed to continue to be blessed, you have probably wondered, “Why?” Why are they able to be blessed when they’ve hurt you so badly? Well, the answer to that can be found in the Bible. In Matthew 5:45, Jesus tells us, “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (NIV )
Since God still takes care of the just and the unjust, the evil and the good, we have to think about the fact that many times, we’ve been unjust to others and evil in God’s sight, but God still saw fit to bless and keep us. We should expect him to do the same for others even if that person behaved horribly toward us.
We can all expect consequences for our actions though. We’ve experienced consequences for our acts of disobedience and those who have wronged us will also experience consequences for their acts. But, what we must not do is be happy for or expectant of God’s wrath on others. Remember, we aren’t too far removed from that same wrath. Forgiveness can help us to not wish ill will on those who have wronged us, so let's have faith that our forgiveness will heal, restore, and revive us and all of our relationships. Just think of how much faith we show God by forgiving those who have hurt us!
I’ve included a great resource below that helps us to delve into the seemingly impossible task of forgiveness. It is a book by Joyce Meyer entitled, Do Yourself a Favor…Forgive. Just as the title suggests, forgiveness helps us even more than the person who has offended us. To quote Marianne Williamson, "Unforgiveness is like drinking poison yourself and waiting for the other person to die." That simply makes no sense. In Colossians 3:13 , Paul tells us, "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." With that, we can be sure that it is God’s Will for our lives to forgive, and in forgiving others, God can forgive us.
Let’s continue to P.U.S.H. until we meet again!
*Please note: Although the word satan is technically a proper noun, I will never capitalize that name.