Orange Show, May 19, 2018
“Forgiveness vs. Trust”
Ephesians 4:25-27: “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and lying and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. In your anger do not sin by nursing a grudge: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and give the devil a mighty foothold.” (GBB)
With Mother’s Day coming last Sunday and Father’s Day next month, I was watching a TV show where the heroine had serious issues with her father and he was murdered without any reconciliation happening. The resulting trauma, realization of what she lost, and the sorrow she now carried was vividly shown.
It brought to mind an issue in part of my family back east where the issue between a son and mother has divided the whole family for a few years now with no reconciliation even desired. I do not know the issues, but I know the tongue’s fire, likely on both sides, brought it about. Add that to the lifestyle of constant bickering to the point of a Hatfield – McCoy as long as I have known that family.
Around the racing family through the many years I have done my best in a number of cases to be the arbitrator and peacemaker. It’s hard to watch the damage happen. It’s been the same in so many cases at church or outside where I have listened to someone, especially a son or daughter lament bitterly over their parent or sibling passing without having the chance to make amends. Believe me when I say that makes for a very difficult memorial service within the family!
Relationships are so very important. Even with family it takes time to cultivate them and the energy that is placed within them can be so rewarding, if we allow the time and energy for them.
The people that we hold dear and valuable to us, whether family or friend, we should always take that extra time to value them if we don’t wish to spend our time like a hermit here in this world.
Yet sometimes we allow words to hurt us, words to hurt others, or to get so focused on ourselves that we don’t always tell those closest to us how valuable they are to us, and our words get lost in the day.
Worse yet, we stubbornly stand our ground when an offense divides us because we are “right” and they…
We take it for granted that they are going to be here every day and that death, although it can happen at any moment, is not going to happen right away. And what happens? We wish we had done or said what we wanted to do or say, and wind up regretting it later.
That becomes painfully true in the deepest sense when suddenly death ends any chance to reconcile …especially with our siblings, or our Mom or Dad. That pain and heartache never goes away and we find ourselves wishing “if only I had…” the rest of our lives.
As a person that believes life is so short and that we should treasure the time and people that God has given to us while here in this world, I must say that we shouldn’t let the sun go down on our anger or get so self- absorbed with ourselves that we lose sight of what is really important.
People can change. You want to know how to be more like Christ?
Romans 5:8 is clear when it says: “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
As God never gave up on you, never give up on others.
We have a story of personal transformation. Maybe they do not. Each one of us are a “trophy of grace,” a living testimony that when the Spirit of God gets hold of you there is a transformation. That is one of the great verses in all of scripture is 2 Cor. 5:17-20: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old man has passed away; behold, the new man has come. 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 our trespasses against us, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ…” (GBB)
Many people are reluctant to show mercy because they don’t understand the difference between trust and forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past. Trust has to do with future behavior.
Forgiveness must be immediate, whether or not a person asks for it. Trust must be rebuilt over time. Trust requires a track record. If someone hurts you repeatedly, you are commanded by God to forgive them instantly, but you are not expected to trust them immediately, and you are not expected to continue allowing them to hurt you. Depending on the situation, it may require a time of healing, a time of rebuilding that trust you once had.
Since it was Mother’s Day last Sunday and Father’s Day is coming in four weeks I am asking each of us to consider our opportunity to take the higher road and be the one to make the first move toward reconciliation if we are carrying that burden.
It doesn’t matter if it is Mom or dad, sister or brother, cousin, aunt, uncle, a one-time friend, and especially today a competitor here at Orange Show. Whatever the case, let’s take our walk with Christ to a new level as we seek daily to grow and be more like Him.
One thing to remember in this: There is no promise that things will work out the way you want. The deal is that you make sure you are right with God first, wait for His direction that it’s time to approach the issue, and then if it goes south keep your cool, forgive them and make sure you continue to do the right thing while the Lord works on them. It may take years! I know it personally took 30 years for me to restore a relationship. Yes it was difficult, but I waited it out patiently and God put it all together …and yes, to my shock!!!
Hebrews 13:20-21 says “Now may the God of peace who by the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead the Great Shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus equip you with every good thing to do His will, working in us what is pleasing before Him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” (GBB)
It’s simple. God will equip us to follow Him and that God will work in and through us & them for His glory. That gift of God working in us can certainly take us by surprise like it did me that day.
Please know that Kathy and I are always here to talk too and help in any way we can.