The Rocky Road: Forward Or Backward?

November 28, 1997
by Kaye Lockwood

Proverbs 19:11 – A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is his glory to overlook an offence.

Proverbs 17:9 – He who covers an offence promotes love … but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

A few thoughts on the rocky road of getting along with people. Disagreement and conflicts are inevitable. With the present emphasis on individuality, being assertive, and standing one's ground ("I ain't takin' no guff from nobody!"), it is becoming more and more difficult to resolve our differences. The more liberated we become, the less tolerant we are of the opinions of others when they don't coincide with our own. Psychological thinking advocates getting at the root of the problem. Dig up the past. Remember other experiences that may be significant. That is supposed to be the first step towards a solution to a present impasse. We have our rights, and we are going to stand up and assert them and demand satisfaction. This is the atmosphere of the workplace. It gets ingrained in our thinking. Then we bring it home. We even bring it to church! Certainly it is good to seek the background of a problem or situation … but in what spirit?

As Christians, we have a wealth of good counsel in God's word that we can "access", for relating to our fellow Christians. We come together in our local congregations, bringing with us all our baggage from our individual lives and experiences. Some of us are weak, some are strong. All the situations that exist in life outside the church are also present within the Christian community. Some offend, and some are offended. What do we do with that? Consider the two verses of scripture quoted above. There are two good words: "overlook", and "cover over". This requires more grace than we naturally posses. But God has promised to supply that which we lack.

"Forgetting" is another good word. It comes after "Forgive". We do forgive, but forgetting is almost more important. If we can't forget offences, the next time something comes up that reminds of the occasion, we begin to dig up the past hurts again, and we are back where we started.

When we come to God as repentant sinners, he "wipes out the written code against us" (Colossians 2:14) … he forgets our sins! So we must do the same for others.

Forgive and forget. Unconditionally. Only then can we move forward.

Prayer: "Our Father, … Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us…." Amen.

About the author:

Kaye Lockwood <rosswitmer@rogers.com>
Barrie, Ontario, Canada

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