Did you know there is a Christian way to fight? Many Christians don’t know, so they fight just as they did before they became Christian. Fighting like a non-Christian is sinful because it is according to self-interest and self-preservation. It involves deceit and manipulation of others and results in anger, bitterness, and resentment. This is why God tells us of a better way to fight. Over the next four weeks, we shall learn how to fight and we shall begin by stressing the importance of forgiveness.
- Forgiveness is commanded. Every command from God is good and it is good to obey every command from God. The Bible says Christians must forgive (Colossians 3:13) and God will bless you when you forgive those who have sinned against you.
- Forgiveness decreases resentment. Like water on fire, forgiveness extinguishes bitterness and resentment by eliminating its fuel. When you forgive someone, you do not excuse their actions, but you refuse to use their actions as a weapon against them. It involves an intentional decision to not dwell on the offense, but to hand the resentment and the punishment over to God. It is modeled after God’s forgiveness of our sins. God handles the punishment and God does not dwell on our sin.
- Forgiveness brings peace. Resentment and peace are mutually exclusive. When resentment decreases, peace increases (and vice versa). If you are intentional to forgive, you will see God fill the void left by bitterness with peace and this peace is far better than “winning” any conflict with others.
- Forgiveness promotes love for God and others. Forgiveness increases our awareness of God’s love by reminding us of Jesus’ death for us. We are motivated to forgive when we remember God’s forgiveness of our sins. This results in greater love for God and others.
- Forgiveness increases awareness of our own sin. As your love for God grows, your desire to please God will grow as well. When your desire to please God grows you become more aware of what pleases and displeases God. The result is that you desire to please God and walk more humbly before Him and others. You are quick to see your sin and confess it.
- Forgiveness is the necessary first step in reconciliation. Many people think forgiveness can only happen if the person accepts it. This is not necessarily true because forgiveness is an intentional decision while reconciliation is a process. Next week we will discuss this in more detail.
- Forgiveness is a powerful witness. Forgiveness is a powerful witness because it can only happen with God’s help. Only God can help someone forgive because our forgiveness is modeled after God’s forgiveness of our sins. Remember, Colossians 3:13 tells us to forgive as we have been forgiven.
Is there anyone that you refuse to talk to? Is there anyone you refuse to forgive? Are you disobeying God’s command to forgive? If so, you need to dwell on Christ’s sacrifice for you and God’s forgiveness of your sin and rebellion against Him. Pray and ask God to help you forgive. Ask someone you respect to help you and hold you accountable.