Damaged Relationships

July 7, 2016

Matthew 5:21-24

You have heard that it was said to the men of old, You shall not kill, and whoever kills shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court. 22But I say to you that everyone who continues to be angry with his brother or harbors malice (enmity of heart) against him shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court; and whoever speaks contemptuously and insultingly to his brother shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, You cursed fool! [You empty-headed idiot!] shall be liable to and unable to escape the hell (Gehenna) of fire. 23So if when you are offering your gift at the altar you there remember that your brother has any [grievance] against you, 24Leave your gift at the altar and go. First make peace with your brother, and then come back and present your gift.

Damaged Relationships

All of us suffer offenses or hurts from someone close to us at some point in our lives.  Those hurts may come from a brother or sister, a parent, relative, friend or spouse.  They may well come from someone that we trusted and were close too in the body of Christ.  These hurts and offenses can be very painful, they may have damaged our reputation, betrayed our trust, violated us or disappointed us.  There is no denying the hurt that we can emotionally suffer from another.  What is initially hurt and pain then often begins to turn into anger, rage, bitterness and unforgiveness. What we do with these damaged relationships is key to our own mental, emotional and spiritual health.  Anger is one thing, but anger unchecked and released to full fury can place murder in our hearts.  

I have had times in my life when I was ill spoken of and hurt by another brother or individual.  As much as we would like to let go of it, it wants to keep playing over and over in our minds.  We go through all of these scenarios of what we should have said or done.  We may want to forget it, but we can’t.  It keeps tormenting us.  We may feel we were 100% in the right, we didn’t deserve any of what that person did or said to us and they need to pay for it.  Rather we are right or wrong at this point isn’t the issue; it is what are we doing with our anger and hurt?  Our anger is like a loaded and cocked gun.  It is primed and ready to kill.  Left to our flesh, we’ll probably pull the trigger.

What do you do about a damaged relationship that first starts in your heart?  If you continue to harbor malice, resentment, hate and unforgiveness then it is you that is going to suffer the most, not your adversary.  Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”  When we get a cut or are injured and bleeding, what is our greatest concern after we have bandaged the wound?  We have to guard against infection.  If a wound gets infected and especially if that infection is unchecked and not brought under control, what happens?  We become increasingly ill and can even die.  That is what happens when emotional wounds are infected with unforgiveness, bitterness and malice.  They will spiritually undermine our healthy and right spiritual relationship with God.  When Jesus taught His disciples to pray the Lord’s prayer one of the phrases is, “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”   There is a spiritual law that when we fail to extend forgiveness then we also prevent ourselves from receiving forgiveness.  In Matthew 6:14-15 Jesus clarifies this, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” 

One of the reasons that Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies, those that hurt, offend and abuse us, is because it brings healing to our spirit as well as releasing God to work in their hearts.  The way we work through the hurt and damaged relationships are by praying for our offenders.  The Word tells in our scripture today that if we are praying to God and remember someone that has a grievance against us then we are to go and make that right first.  If our human relationships aren’t right in as much as we can make them right then it can have a lot to do with how our spiritual relationship with the Lord is going.  The healing and restoration has to begin with us.  Self is a strong combatant for its own rights.  If we can never come to the place where we can begin to pray of our offender and release forgiveness it is a pretty strong indicator that self is still stubbornly upon the throne.  The healing and releasing may take some time, but it will come as we make the right spiritual steps, to pray, forgive and reconcile those offenses in Christ.  It is His love in us that is unconditional, not our own.

blessings,

kent

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