by Jacqueline Chin-Depass – Article Oct 2018
The fact is even as Christians our hearts get hardened but the work of Christ through His Holy Spirit softens our hearts to love the way God said, with Agape [God kind of love] which makes us even more vulnerable. We would love to be dead to the flesh where nothing offends us or has the power to cause us hurt and pain and truly we desire to be in that place. Psalm 119:165 says, “Great peace have they who love your law: and nothing shall offend them,” some interpretations say, “nothing shall cause them to stumble.”
Who usually causes us hurt and pain?
The people who are closest to us and who we draw close to us. We will all at some point or other feel hurt and pain and become offended in our relationships, don’t believe the lie that we should never respond to what others say about or do to us. Rather, it is how we deal with offences that will invariably show the true condition of our heart and it will show if we are truly maturing in Christ.
Typically, this is how we react to offence – we deny it, we avoid it, we bury it, we withdraw love and fellowship with the offender or we run to someone else and talk about it. This causes no resolution to the matter and invariably as Jamaican people would say, “di cup full, it run over and me can’t tek it no more.”
Firstly, we have to admit that thing really hurt us. Personally, I run to God first and begin to deal with myself. I must get my emotions under control. We really need to be honest with ourselves.
I must first ask myself these questions and follow these steps to resolution.
- Does the other person really mean to hurt me?
- Is it my own view of the situation or is it the truth?
- Why has this thing hurt me, am I dealing with something deeper, perhaps a past unresolved unhealed wound? [Perhaps the cut was not healed it only grew a scab but it covers a deep infected wound, it was oozing before and this bruise just causes the wound to break out.]
I deal with myself first, I monitor my heart condition.
We have got to pro-actively guard our heart with all diligence it affects issues of our life today and tomorrow. The word clearly says: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life”. Proverbs 4:23 ESV. These are the words from the New Living Translation, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
We have got to ask God to clean our heart of the issue, because nothing is so important to hold on to that would cause the blockage of the flow of the Holy Spirit.
Let go and leave matters in God’s hands.
Truly, to be free, one has to let go of offence. There can be no moving forward without letting go. Spiritually if we won’t let go we will be trying to walk forward while looking back and that will truly cause us to stumble and even fall. “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature [pursuing spiritual perfection] should have this attitude.” Philippians 3:13 to 15a
Put things into Godly perspective.
Honestly some matters are a “scratch” and it is quite easy to get over those matters, while others are like being stabbed with a knife, they go deep and as long as we have taken it to God do not be impatient because those wounds take time to heal. It is imperative at first not to speak to others about it with a motive of damaging the offender’s character. Remember you may be speaking from your own viewpoint and perspective and it may not be the WHOLE truth. God gives us conflict resolution strategies in Matthew 18 here they are:
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him ALONE If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Steps to healing:
It is of utmost importance that we begin to take steps to forgiving… no offence is worth keeping. When one thinks – we were forgiven and shown mercy by a loving Father, not because we deserved it, then we really need to let others “off the hook.” We ARE ONLY FORGIVEN with the measure that we forgive others and truly we have not forgiven if many weeks, years and months later we still speak of the one who offended us in a negative way. The model prayer in Matthew 6 states clearly, “Forgive us our sins AS WE FORGIVE OTHERS.”
Notice all the steps above are about making ourselves right before God. Now if you are like me, fellowship will not be free with the other until I have care-fronted the person. In my earlier days I did a lot of CONfronting but now I do CARE- fronting. For some it is easy to hide their emotions and it is the hardest thing to speak up. In some cultures we really learn the art of being good pretenders. For me the hardest thing is NOT TO SPEAK TRUTH. However, as I have grown in Christ I have learned to do this in Love. It makes no sense going to someone and all you do is vent your anger, this behaviour only leads to further conflict and invariably puts the other person on the defensive. Our flesh may have won but we need to take the softer road of RECONCILIATION and being a peacemaker for Christ’s sake.
I couldn’t close this subject without telling you, if we follow these steps then there would be no divisions, no gossip, no slander, we are called to be peacemakers. Let’s ask God to heal us, clean our hearts and grant us the grace to do all to shine as light and preserve and flavour like salt of the earth. WALK GOOD IN CHRIST MY FRIENDS.