NOTE: This will be the only post here this week, while I am out of town for the Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
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Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
~ Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)
Five children in our home multiplies exponentially the way relationship conflicts occur. Frequent breaches require regular exercise of repentance and forgiveness.
It's said that the hardest words are, "I was wrong and I'm sorry." While the right consequences can compel a child to say that, getting the right heart into them has been an arduous process. The "formula" I've tried to teach and exemplify is A-B-C.
ADMIT your wrongdoing, and it helps to acknowledge why you were wrong, the effects of your behavior, and the message you communicated.
BE SORRY, and not simply because your wrongdoing was brought to attention, or you hope to mitigate consequences, or someone is upset with you. Realize that you do love, or at least are supposed to love, a fellow human being who is hurt or offended by you.
COMMIT TO CHANGE, and understand that even if you follow through long enough and take steps to change what the world sees on the outside, only a life lived through God will enable you to change on the inside, where all sin, thoughtlessness, and selfishness begin in the heart.
However long they take, however much diligence they require, forgiveness and repentance are necessary steps for healing both a relationship breach as well as one's own soul. Forgiveness needs to follow an offense, whether or not your offender repents. Your own heartfelt repentance makes a request for forgiveness more easily received and granted, toward true reconciliation and relationship.
And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."
~ 1 Peter 4:8 (NKJV)
Love isn't happiness experienced because someone has done something to make us feel good. Love is the joy experienced in our care for another fragile soul as an expression of God's love for us. When such love goes both ways, conditions are perfect for a flourishing relationship.
Lord, please enable us to love one another as You have loved us by drawing us to bask in Your love.
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Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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- God's Favorite Color
- Formula for Healing Relationship
- God of Hide-and-Seek
- Spiritual Warfare Postscript: Forgiveness
- Spiritual Armor: Prayer and Perseverance
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- Spiritual Armor: Ownership
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