By Allen Mitchell
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“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
Have you ever been hurt by other believers? Alarmingly, recent statistics suggest that many believers stop attending church regularly because other believers hurt them. Regrettably, some displaced believers equate the offender’s indiscretion with God’s disapproval, believing the lie that their wounding is the result of God’s rejection.
Why are we so easily offended? We live in an imperfect world filled with imperfect people. Even among believers, it is impossible to fellowship and not experience grief in relationships.
Is the appropriate response to run away from God? What if we ran toward Him and allowed Him to heal our wounds? When we experience wounding, to protect our pride, we tend to withdraw from church community—believing it is safer; however, the enemy can exploit our isolation and vulnerability and our festering wounds will weep with bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness, hindering our fellowship with believers and God.
Centuries ago, on the first Christmas, Jesus left the majesty of heaven and clothed Himself in fragile human flesh to reconcile us to the Father. Throughout Jesus’ infancy and adult ministry, religious authorities, crowds, and even His disciples frequently offended Him. He experienced isolation, exile, hypocrisy, rejection, betrayal, assault, suffering, and death. If Jesus forgave those who wounded Him, then, as His followers, He fully expects us to do likewise. Scripture cautions us to guard our hearts from spiritual arrogance and pride and to devote ourselves to cultivating respectful relationships that reflect grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for leaving the majesty of Heaven to reconcile me to the Father. Help me willingly forgive those who have offended me and release them into your loving hands.
Spend time in prayer. Ask God to heal your wounds. Examine your heart and ask God to reveal the name of someone you need to forgive.