Restoring Relationships God’s Way
Beginning in the beginning, there have been problems and conflicts in relationships. If Adam and Eve had conflicts, and we see it all through Scripture, then it’s pretty likely that even the best relationships will have conflicts. It all results because of sin in the world. The creature is born centered on self and it takes divine enablement to truly focus and serve others. So the question is not what do I do IF it happens, but what do I do WHEN it happens.
This first slide shows the reality of some problem between two people. It can be two or a mob. Whatever the relationship, there is going to be some kind of conflict. (I know these are in a cartoon form, but let’s try to get the principle)
The human response is often to lash back or internalize and “carry” the pain OR a multitude of options in between those two actions. Often, our response to someone is sin. For example if I lash back at someone for sinning against me, I have just sinned. Yes, even though I didn’t start it, I chose to respond in sin and think that I could solve the problem my way. Sometimes it’s the sin of reaction and sometimes it’s the sin of internalization. Both are wrong responses.
Instead I need to choose the biblical approach and forgive. One of the Hebrew words for forgive is nasah, which means “to lift up.” A second Hebrew word is salah, which means “ready to pardon.” Both give a good picture of what we are supposed to do. Lift the sin (the penalty and pain of the sin) to the throne of God for Him to deal with it. A third forgive word is a Greek word aphia-mi, which literally means “to send away.” God wants us to send away to Him the sin pain and let Him deal with it. We are not very judicial with offenses against ourselves. Our flesh reacts and does all sorts of strange things, like think we are as smart as God.
“Lifting up” and “ready to pardon” demonstrate the ready attitude to lift it up to God. The phrase “send away” means that I’m not going to deal with it against the offender, because I will trust the Lord to deal with it.
In the next slide the offended person chooses to forgive, that is lifts up or sends away the penalty to the throne of God. The black symbol with the yellow burst is supposed to be a chair or throne as an illustration of the Shekinah Glory described in the Old Testament or the Presence of God in heaven.
Lifting up the conflict to the Lord fits well with 1 Peter 5:7, which says “casting all your cares on the Lord, for He cares for you.” I first deal vertically with the problem and is the principle taught in Mark 11:25, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. (Mar 11:25) Once you choose to deal with the problem vertically, then you can begin to deal with the horizontal relationship.
You may still feel the pain of the offense. The relationship may still be struggling. But you, because you’ve given it to God, you can choose to have a heart of love toward the offender. That’s the third slide below. Notice that God will deal with the other person in His way. Unfortunately, it may not be in your timing. It may not be in your lifetime. Yet, God is infinite in wisdom, justice, power and mercy to know how best to deal with the relationship. His way is far better than anything we can consider (Is. 55:8-9). The key is you now are able to have a heart of love toward the other person. This is also the principle from 1 Peter 4:8, “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” It’s covered, because you trust in the covering of the blood of Christ on the cross.
When a person lifts up the offense to God, he can have a heart of love toward the offender. The person no longer has to have any kind of revenge desire, because he’s given it to God. It is a choice, to love at this point, but it is what God desires according to Luke 17:3-10; Matthew 18:15-17; Romans 12:14-21; and 1 Peter 3:8-12.
The last slide shows that God may want you to make the decision to reach out to the offender, or even confront the offender. IF God is working through you to the offender it will be God’s love. It may be firm and deliberate, because sin may need to be confronted (Luke 17:3-4), but it is done from God’s love, not personal vengeance (Romans 12:15-21)
These slides are a simplistic way of looking at forgiveness. They do not answer all the questions in a relationship. They begin the process of dealing with forgiveness.
Do they help you?