Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Process of Reconciliation

Peninsula Community Church

The Process of Reconciliation

February 26, 2012

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Editorial note: Much of my notes in this message come from Everett Washington’s book entitled “Forgiving and Reconciling: Bridges to Wholeness and Hope” published by InterVarsity Press.

 

As we look at the subject of reconciliation we must realize that there is a difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. As we have seen already in our study of forgiveness, forgiveness is internal. While it is great to have the other person involve forgiveness is a one way experience and does not require the other person to be involved although it is beneficial to have both people included in the process.
 

Secondly, we will see over the next couple of weeks that reconciliation on the other hand is interpersonal. To come to a place of reconciliation there is a requirement to have both parties involved. Two people who have been hurt must meet together to begin the process of healing and restoration.

In the process of reconciliation we realize that reconciliation is restoring trust in a relationship in which trust has been damaged. As in forgiveness this may take time but it begins with a decision and it begins with a spirit of forgiveness.

The fact is, one can forgive and never be reconciled or one can reconcile without forgiving. In the first case, the individual can be at peace with themselves and can release the other person from the penalty of their sin or the wrong they have committed but still not have a healed relationship. In some cases, this may be because the other person may have passed away. It may be because they have moved on and can’t be reached. It is also possible that the other person is not in a position to reconcile or that they would even want to begin the process.

It is also possible to reconcile with a person even though there has not been a real act of forgiveness. In this case, the problem is that no real healing has occurred and in many ways there is no real reconciliation. The issue at hand is that if real forgiveness has not occurred, the issues will arise again. It may be in different ways or with different people but it will come to the surface. And, sometimes this happens when we least expect it.
 

A second understanding must be that through reconciliation it is possible to either resolve or dissolve the relationship. While the goal is to resolve the issues, it is possible that there will be no reconciliation and there will be a choice to dissolve the relationship. We see this is in the story of Paul and Mark (Acts 15:15-38). We are not sure what occurred but they had a falling out and they went their separate ways. In this case, there was no reconciliation. For a season the relationship dissolved but the miracle is that Barnabus came along side of Mark and later in life we see the relationship healed.

To understand reconciliation, we must understand that we were born to be in relationship with God and with others. From the beginning of time God created mankind for fellowship, We see this in the fact that God would walk in the cool of the day to be in fellowship with Adam and Eve. Secondly, God created man and woman to be in relationship with each other as modeled by the marriage relationship. And thirdly, he has called us as believers into a relationship with one another. He has called us to join together in a community of believers that are willing to walk in forgiveness and in the healing that comes in forgiving and reconciling relationships.

In our text, we see that God has called us to be reconciled in Him and that we are to be ministers of reconciliation. This means that we draw people to God and the best way to do that is to be reconciled first with Him. It is my belief and I believe this can be born out in scripture that when we walk in forgiveness and in reconciliation the world takes notice. They will want to experience what we have experienced when it is a real and authentic experience.

We also see the need for interpersonal forgiveness and reconciliation in:

  • Ephesians 2:16 where Paul says that men are to be reconciled together before God.
  • Matthew 5 where Jesus admonishes those who come before the altar to offer their gifts and remember that their brother has something against them that they should leave their gift and then go and be reconciled. The lesson is that when we recognize wrong that we make the initiative to reconcile.

The goal is to build bridges that lead to reconciliation. John Paul Lederac has stated that “You cannot build a bridge by starting in the middle. Bridge builders begin from the side they are on.”

But, how do we build a bridge toward reconciliation? I submit to you that there are at least four steps that brings onto a path that leads to reconciliation.

First, we must make a decision to face each other. Notice that here again is the concept of making a decision. The fact is that many times our emotions are not ready or in the place to affect a positive move toward a life of reconciliation so we must make the decision to take this step as nerve racking or risky this may seem.

Secondly, we must begin to dialogue about the issues. It is here that we deal with the truth and we dialogue about the real issues that have caused the separation and division in the relationship. Sometimes, when we are a standstill we will need a respected third party to get involved to mediate the process.

Thirdly, we must begin to look for ways to detoxify the relationship. We bring forgiveness into the relationship. We drop our right to be hurt. We let go of the pain and we take steps to see the other person healed.

And finally, we devote ourselves to rebuilding the relationship. We don’t give up easily. We don’t give up when things get rough because sometimes issues rise to the surface that can hurt the relationship if we allow them to do that.
 

As we have noted before one of the themes that runs throughout the Bible is the theme of forgiveness and reconciliation. In the Old Testament there are two examples that best illustrate positive and negative reconciliation.

The first of these stories is David and Saul. If you remember the story you will remember that Saul had been appointed King over Israel. But on his journey in life, he made some poor decisions that led to a life of bitterness and hatred. Remember that Saul offered the sacrifice that was to be only sacrificed by the high prelist. He became impatient and stepped in where he was not called (1 Sam. 13).

We also see that Saul rejected God’s will and plan by disobeying God’s plan for destroying all of the Amalekites and not taken any spoils from the battle. But Saul listened to the people and took animals to sacrifice and also took the king of the Amalekites alive. When Samuel arrived, he scolded Saul (1 Sam. 15).

But, rather than deal with his issues he became angry at David who was getting accolades and praise for his many fetes as the leader of the armies of Saul. In fact, if you read the story on a number of occasions Saul tried to kill David but he was never successful. In many ways we see David walk in forgiveness as he had many opportunities to kill Saul but he refused because he was guided by the spirit of the Lord.

A second illustration is found in the story of Jacob and Esau. What a dysfunctional family we see. We talked about this before but we see that Jacob and Esau best illustrate this idea of the bridge of reconciliation. They both made a decision to approach one another. This was not an easy decision but one that was required so that true healing was realized. They met each another and dealt with the issues of the past which began to detoxify the relationship. We do not know all that happened to them after the event that brought healing to them but we certainly have the story of reconciliation and healing (Gen. 32-33).

Is reconciliation easy? NO! Is it possible? Yes! Can we do it by ourselves? NO! But we have God on our side!

 

 

 


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The Pathway to Forgiveness – Confession and Driving a Stake

Peninsula Community Church

The Pathway to Forgiveness – The Process

Confessing the Need

February 19, 2012

Galatians 6:2 & James 5:16Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Passionate followers of Christ bear one another’s burden without judging or false
accusation. When I say without judging I mean that we are to be careful about making assumptions about another person’s motive or reasoning for needing forgiveness when we do not have all of the details. People in church today are afraid to reveal their personal struggles because they are afraid that they will be judged or that the people they share with do not know how to maintain a level of confidentiality.

To bear another’s burden is to come along side of another person. It means to live a life characterized by love, joy, peace, patience and so forth in personal relationships? We do so by bearing the heavy weight of another’s burden. The burden described here is a burden or a load that is more than one single person should have to carry by themselves. So we are commanded to come alongside of the one who is suffering to shoulder their burden and to help the other person navigate through the difficulty of their lives.

Confessing our sin and our hurts to another is critical to the process of forgiveness because it gives us an opportunity to admit to someone else that we either need forgiveness or we need to give forgiveness. How much of a burden is it to carry the weight of unforgiveness by ourselves. The reason we do this is that we have been called to be a part of a community of believers that have all things in common. In the community of believers there should be safety and comfort in sharing with others.

The problem however that is that we succumb to two false ideas:

  • Conceit and pride keeps us from sharing with others that we are hurting and that we need others to step up to plate. Pride binds us from being obedient to God’s commands.
  • Comparing ourselves with others and believing that no one else has gone through or is going through what we are experiencing.

 

The goal of confessing our need for forgiveness is that we:

  • Have someone to hold us accountable. The goal here is that while we are walking through the process we will have someone that will hold our feet to the fire. When we shy away from the truth or the needed response we have someone to keep us on tract. By having someone hold us in accountability we also have someone that can encourage us when we are weak or feel like giving up because forgiveness is a process.
  • Have someone who will intercede on our behalf. To intercede we are praying for the Holy Spirit to invade the other person’s life so that they will know His presence and the power of redemption and thus the power of following through with their walk of forgiveness.

When you confess choose carefully. Toward the end of the movie Indian Jones and the Last Crusade, Jones meets the ancient Knight Templar who guards the “Holy Grail”, but there are many choices, gold cups, platinum, silver, terra cotta and wood. The knight says “you must choose, but choose wisely, for as the real grail brings eternal life, the false grail brings death”. The bad guy comes in and chooses a glittering golden cup. “Truly the cup of a king”, he says and drinks from it. Shortly later, with several horrific transformations, he deteriorates and turns to dust. The knight looks at them and simply says “He choose poorly”. Jones selects a wooden cup “The cup of a Gallilean carpenter” he says, and with much fear, having seen the results before, drinks from it. “You choose wisely” says the knight.

So it is with choosing who we confess our shortcomings and sin to. The right person will bring life or they will bring death. Therefore we do

  • Not share with just anyone. We choose those that can be trusted and that the people we know will keep our confidence.
  • Not everyone. The problem sometimes is that we will share with anyone that will listen.
  • Someone you can trust. If the person cannot be trusted don’t share with them. You are asking for trouble. This also means someone that will listen but does not try and fix every situation.

Go and seek forgiveness. There is a point where you have to put everything into action and go and ask forgiveness or begin to forgive yourself.

The fact is that there is huge risk in granting forgiveness. For one the one who is being asked to forgive may not respond. It is a risk because it is possible that the situation will get worse before it gets better. Forgiveness is a risk but it is a worthwhile risk that reaps huge benefits personally and corporately.

Listen to this story of Corrie Ten Boom and her confrontation with forgiving one who had brought her and her family much pain.

“It was in a church in Munich that I saw him—a balding, heavyset man in a gray overcoat, a brown felt hat clutched between his hands. People were filing out of the basement room where I had just spoken, moving along the rows of wooden chairs to the door at the rear. It was 1947 and I had come from Holland to defeated Germany with the message that God forgives. “It was the truth they needed most to hear in that bitter, bombed-out land, and I gave them my favorite mental picture. Maybe because the sea is never far from a Hollander’s mind, I liked to think that that’s where forgiven sins were thrown. ‘When we confess our sins,’ I said, ‘God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever. …’ “The solemn faces stared back at me, not quite daring to believe. There were never questions after a talk in Germany in 1947. People stood up in silence, in silence collected their wraps, in silence left the room. “And that’s when I saw him, working his way forward against the others. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat; the next, a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones. It came back with a rush: the huge room with its harsh overhead lights; the pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor; the shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister’s frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment skin. Betsie, how thin you were! [Betsie and I had been arrested for concealing Jews in our home during the Nazi occupation of Holland; this man had been a guard at Ravensbruck concentration camp where we were sent.] “Now he was in front of me, hand thrust out: ‘A fine message, Fräulein! How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!’ “And I, who had spoken so glibly of forgiveness, fumbled in my pocketbook rather than take that hand. He would not remember me, of course—how could he remember one prisoner among those thousands of women? “But I remembered him and the leather crop swinging from his belt. I was face-to-face with one of my captors and my blood seemed to freeze. ” ‘You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,’ he was saying, ‘I was a guard there.’ No, he did not remember me. ” ‘But since that time,’ he went on, ‘I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fräulein,’ again the hand came out—’will you forgive me?’ “And I stood there—I whose sins had again and again to be forgiven—and could not forgive. Betsie had died in that place—could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking? “It could not have been many seconds that he stood there—hand held out—but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do. “For I had to do it—I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. ‘If you do not forgive men their trespasses,’ Jesus says, ‘neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.’ “I knew it not only as a commandment of God, but as a daily experience. Since the end of the war I had had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality. Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were able also to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the physical scars. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids. It was as simple and as horrible as that. “And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion—I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. ‘… Help!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’ “And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. “‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’ “For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then”

(Excerpted from “I’m Still Learning to Forgive” by Corrie ten Boom. Reprinted by permission from Guideposts Magazine. Copyright © 1972 by Guideposts Associates, Inc., Carmel, New York 10512>).

When we finally forgive we must put a stake in the ground so that you are reminded everyday that you have forgiven that person. Write it in a book. Send a letter. Post it on a wall and every time you feel that you are struggling to forgive go back to that point in time and realize that you forgave and from that point forward you have begun to walk in forgiveness.

Clara Barton (founder of the American Red Cross) was once asked about an incredibly cruel act that someone had done to her years before. She seemed to have forgotten so her friend asked her “Don’t you remember?” “No” replied Clara Barton. “I distinctly remember forgetting it”.

I realized that this is not an easy process and that it often brings about more pain and hurt before there is a resolution of the issues. Forgive and watch what God does in your life.

Next week we will review how to seek reconciliation and healing in the relationship…. So stay tuned.

 

 


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The Pathway to Forgiveness – Giving the Gift of Forgiveness

Peninsula Community Church

The Pathway to Forgiveness – The Process

The Giving of Forgiveness as a Gift

February 12, 2012

 

John 20:21-23 – Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

As we continue to understand the pathway to forgiveness we must come to a place where we understand that showing empathy does not in itself guarantee forgiveness but another step is requested. While empathy allows us to see the wrong done from another’s perspective it does not in itself bring healing. The next step is to give forgiveness as a gift. A gift is something that is given without any expectation of reproposity. It is given to show love and commitment.

As we take this journey there will always be a tension between doing what is right and living out the emotions that drive us. We must choose to do the right thing because it is the right thing.

There must come a time that we begin to act out forgiveness. Rather than just talk the talk we need to put our talk into action so that can actually forgive.

Let us look at two primary steps in offering forgiveness for a moment:

  • First we need to remember God’s forgiveness. How many of us really understand the vastness of God’s forgiveness for us. Do you remember the moment you received Christ or a moment where He forgave you of some sin or wrong committed. As we have discussed already we know that forgiveness is a thread that runs throughout scripture. It is very much a part of the Biblical story as any other of the vivid stories of God’s forgiveness. The story of Moses wanted to see God’s glory but what he got was a vision of God’s character. The children of Israel had rebelled and in essence denied God and rejected Moses leadership. In a moment of desperation Moses called out for God to show him his glory.
    • When Moses wanted to see God, what God revealed was His character. We see this in Exodus 34:5-7 The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
      • Merciful
      • Gracious
      • Slow to anger
      • Abounding in steadfast love
      • Forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin
      • But he does not allow sin to go unpunished
    • We are called to forgive others as God has forgiven us. Throughout the New Testament we have a connection between God’s forgiveness and our forgiveness of others.
      • Matt 6:11-15 – Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
      • Mark 11:25-26 – And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” [But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your trespasses.]
      • Luke 6:37 – “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;
      • Luke 11:3-4 – Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”
      • Colossians 3:13 – bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
      • Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
    • What does this mean? We are beginning to forgive as God has forgiven us as God has forgiven us. To whom much is given much is required. When we understand what God has done for us we cannot help but forgive others. God forgave us not because we deserved it but because he loved us and desired to see the best for us.
  • Secondly, we need to recall another’s forgiveness of us. Sometimes it is hard to imagine God’s forgiveness as it seems so distant and far from us but when we recall the power of another’s forgiveness, we can be overwhelmed and humbled. When we forgive others we find that we are stronger and freer in our relationships with others. In essence when we understand how much we have been forgiven we will want to forgive others.

Unforgiveness brings shame and hurt but we can be surprised by the act of forgiveness. The fact is God surprises us by His forgiveness and we are surprised by the effects of the forgiveness of others. We must step out by faith to give forgiveness.

True forgiveness is an altruistic gift which is an unselfish regard for another. It is giving something simply for the good of the other person. It is a love that thinks of others rather than oneself. While forgiving others positively effects you it is a gift to the other person so that whether the gift is received or not it is ok because we gave it out of the heart and for the right motivation.

  • Guilt and shame – To forgive we must push past the guilt and shame that comes from the pain we feel. Too often the shame we feel and have experienced keeps us from moving toward a process of healing. In our shame we attempt to cover up what needs to be done. If we wait for our emotions to be right we will probably never forgive others. Our guilt and shame can be a hindrance to our recovery.
  • Gratitude – When we give gifts of forgiveness and receive gifts of forgiveness we develop a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving. Many who have walked this path have made professions such as:
    • There was a giant weight lifted off of my shoulders.
    • I felt that the chains that enslaved me were cut off and that I was free.
    • Gratitude became the norm.
  • Gift There is a point were we must take a step toward forgiveness. We offer forgiveness to those who do not deserve it because it is the right thing to do. We offer the gift of forgiveness to others because it is the example that Christ gave us. We offer the gift of forgiveness because we give gifts not expecting anything in return but because it is just that a gift. A gift is a gift because we give it and do not expect anything in return. There are times when we give gifts to those that cannot give any gift back to us. This includes forgiveness as well. It will cost us but it is worth it.  

One of the most beautiful stories of forgiveness is found in the story of Les Miserables. Jean Valjean one of the key characters in the story could give forgiveness because he had received forgiveness from Monsignor Bienvenue One of the most poignant moments in the play was when Jean Valjean had the opportunity to have Inspector Javert killed but because he remembered the power of forgiveness he received for the Monsignor and instead of taking revenge he walked in forgiveness and released Javert. He every right to have him killed but he chose rather to walk in forgiveness.

 

 

 

 


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The Pathway to Forgiveness – Showing Empathy

Peninsula Community Church

The Pathway to Forgiveness – The Process

Showing Empathy

February 5, 2012

Colossians 3:7-13 – …. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator…. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

As we begin this morning, let me take a moment to review some of the key principles that we have learned through this series. First we understand forgiveness as both a decision and as a process where the emotions must catch up to the decisions we have made. David Ausburger stated that forgiveness is a series of individual decisions and incremental steps toward total forgiveness. Secondly, we have seen that forgiveness is as much for us individually as it is for the other person. If the other person never accepts our forgiveness or ever responds to us we can know that we have done the right thing.

We must remember that forgiving depends on feeling differently about a person who hurts you or offends you. We know that we have forgiven others when the victim can “view the wrongdoer with compassion, benevolence, and love while recognizing that he has willfully abandoned his right to them .

One of the keys to moving toward forgiveness is to empathize with the person who has wounded or hurt us. When we see things from their perspective it can change the way we feel about the individual. By empathizing with the other person we begin to see things from their perspective and we begin to understand why it is that they may have said or acted the way they might have.

So how do we do this” How do we empathize with others? Let me give you a few suggestions about this.

First, we must recognize that there are soft emotions often hidden behind hard emotions. What do I mean by this? It is that when someone hurts or wounds another many times it is because of a fear, worry, stress or other such emotions that they are dealing with. Sometimes a fear of failure or a lack of self-esteem causes one to negatively respond to others. The fact is that most people do not wake up in the morning looking for ways to hurt others. In fact these folks are usually more needy than they appear. Think about a time in your life when you hurt or wounded someone unintentionally.

Secondly, people are often influenced by situations around them. Too often the situation causes them to respond in a way that causes hurt to others. One might be tired, afraid of losing their job. I once worked for a boss that would fly off the handle and would be curt and rude in their remarks. It seemed that he was always trying to prove himself and his authority. On one occasion we were invited to a party where he and his wife attended. What we found is that his wife was constantly attacking him, correcting him and putting him down in front of those in attendance at the party. On the job he was simply reacting to his situation at home.

Thirdly, people are generally wired for survival. In other words when they feel cornered or attacked themselves they will respond in kind. This could be a real attack or an imaginary one.

Fourthly, people are conditioned by past experiences. Have you ever witnessed a child that might flinch when you raise your hand around them. Many times this is a result of abuse in the home or the fact that when the child did something wrong, they would be slapped by a parent. The result is that they have been conditioned to flinch. For some folks they have been conditioned to hurt and wound because they have been hurt and wounded and have never received healing for their woundedness.

Fifthly, people don’t think things through when they are hurt. In many cases people react rather than act upon the issues that they confront. Rather than stopping to think about what their words or actions may do they hastily speak out. Have you ever said something that you wish you could take back almost as soon as you said it or in today’s environment as soon as you push the send button?

But as believers in Christ, we should have a different approach. Consider that you a Christian. What does that mean to you and to the other person. When we are passionate followers of Christ we respond and act differently. We must understand the following:

  • You are being transformed. The fact is once we received Christ there was a transformation that took place. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul reminded the believers that they are new creations in Christ. He stated, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” But in Romans 12:2 Paul reminded believers that they were also in a process of transformation. Because we are in a process of transformation into Christ’s image we are also learning how to think about others. While we are not perfect we are perfectable. Therefore we are allowing God to work in us all that we need.
  • As believers we also have God’s nature within us. John wrote that ” No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God” (I John 3:9). This is because we have a desire now to please God and to honor God in everything we do. That is why it is hard for us to do anything without the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
  • As believers not only are we being transformed and not only do we realize we have God’s nature within us but we also realize that have the mind of Christ. In Romans 8:10 Paul stated, “But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” And again in Colossians 3:3 Paul states, “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
  • We are led by the Holy Spirit. “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11) and But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18). Because we are led by the Holy Spirit we do not have to respond as others do. We can respond as in love and genuine care for others.

Thus we recognize that we have been called to treat others differently as commanded by:

  • Colossians 3:8-14 “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
  • Galatians 5:19-25″ Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. “
  • Ephesians 4:31-32 “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. “

We must believe that often the things that bug us in others is what we are struggling with or is a weakness in us.

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