(From Our Mailbag)
...How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like
precious ointment poured on the head
A: Where there is unity, there is power. To be in agreement and unity with fellow believers is the most peaceful and powerful place for a Christian. United we stand. Divided we fall. Satan is well aware of this principle. He knows that if any two of us on earth agree concerning what we ask, it shall be done for us. And, where two or more are gathered together in Jesus' name, He will be there, also (see Mt 18:19 - 20). Therefore, Satan's desire is to ruin our relationships by sowing strife among us. Because if he can keep us in turmoil with our brothers and sisters in Christ, then he knows we will be vulnerable and lack God's power.
Nothing is more hurtful than to have Christian brothers and sisters turn against us. Matthew 24:12, however, tells us that in the "end times" this is exactly what is going to happen, "the Love (Agape) of many will grow (wax) cold." Christians are the only ones who can have Agape Love. Agape is God "Himself" living inside us, but when we injure one another we block His Love from coming forth.
There are three ways to cope when we've been hurt by someone in the body of Christ: flee, fight, or forgive. If we opt to flee, we will usually end up church hopping, content with none " or even worse, forsaking the assembling of the body altogether and being isolated. If we opt to fight, discord, discontentment and tension become a way of life. But if we choose to forgive, we will be totally putting God first and loving Him. To forgive simply means releasing the other person to God. God will then give us His grace, His Love and His ability to forgive (2 Corinthians 2:10).
As Christians we can be honest with God and say, "I don't want to forgive. I am fearful of what is going to happen. But, more than anything else, I want to follow what You want me to do. So, by faith, I choose to give these negative thoughts to You because I know I have Your authority to say, like Jesus did in Matthew 26:39, Not my will, but Thine.'" Then I can be assured I am a cleansed vessel and God can perform His Will in and through me. I don't have to "feel" my choices; I just have to be willing to make them. God then does the rest. In His timing, He will align my feelings with my choices.
Thus, we are not responsible to change our negative feelings and thoughts. There is no way we can do that! We are only responsible to put in charge the Person who can change our feelings, and that's God. When we are clean, God can flow His Life through us. Because He has forgiven us, we can forgive others. Because He has a forgiving heart, we can have a forgiving heart. We can have a heart like His.
To have a heart like His means to, "Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ" (Eph 4:32). You might be thinking, "I'm not the guilty one here." And you probably aren't, but neither was Jesus when He died on the Cross for our sins. Jesus tells us that the one who is worthy of being served, serves others. The one who is innocent is the one who makes the gesture. And do you know what happens? More often than not, if the one in the right volunteers to wash the feet of the one in the wrong, both parties get on their knees.
God says we must put away bitterness, wrath and anger (Eph
4:29 - 31) by giving things to Him; and then, we must love our enemies and forgive
those who despitefully use us. We can't change the person who has hurt us, but
we can change ourselves " deal with our own hurt and anger. If we don't, we are the ones who end up
in bondage. Father, open our eyes
to see the good in those who need our forgiveness... In the name of Jesus, the
King's High Way Manager