Posts tagged ‘reconciliation’

August 22, 2012

Forgive It

by pastortimfowler

2 Corinthians 2:5-11
5 If someone caused distress, I’m not the one really affected. To some extent—although I don’t want to emphasize this too much—it has affected all of you.
6 The majority of you have imposed a severe enough punishment on that person.
7 So now forgive and comfort him. Such distress could overwhelm someone like that if he’s not forgiven and comforted.
8 That is why I urge you to assure him that you love him.
9 I had also written to you to test you. I wanted to see if you would be obedient in every way.
10 If you forgive someone, so do I. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did in the presence of Christ for your benefit.
11 I don’t want Satan to outwit us. After all, we are not ignorant about Satan’s scheming.

The Apostle Paul is talking to a church who is not forgiving one of its members. I am not sure what was done, but what I do know, because of his other teachings, is that this person must have asked for others to forgive. You see, it is biblical that if you have wronged someone who you should ask for the forgiveness and if you ask another Christian, they are required to give the forgiveness. If someone does not ask, there is no repentance, and no forgiveness is required to be given. I am sure that someone is going to challenge me on this, but I am talking about a situation that is being dealt with in this church and this spans both letters that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth.
Forgiveness is one of the hardest things for anybody to do. When we get hurt, it is somehow in us to return the hurt rather than forgiving. Sure, some of this comes from that person not asking, but far too often I hear people saying that they just won’t forgive.

Paul says that in the case where it has been asked, and withheld, we risk overwhelming that person. Later in this same letter Paul states that Christians have been given the ministry of reconciliation. In other words, we are to fix broken relationships, not shatter the pieces even further, making things beyond repair. So when we are asked to forgive, we should, and in that, we strengthen that person and encourage that same pattern of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Paul tells them that by forgiving, they are assuring that person of the love they have from us. It is easy to love those who treat us right. Anyone can do that. But Christians are supposed to love like Christ loves, and we must remember that while we were still His enemy, Christ died for us, showing His love. Love is not warm fuzzy feelings and never having to say you are sorry. Love is patient, kind, not selfish and doesn’t keep track of wrongs, according to the Bible.
Far too many Christians miss being like Jesus when they don’t forgive. Many others miss feeling the love of Jesus by not asking for the forgiveness. Forgiveness is the act of giving up our right to be angry and instead of holding a grudge, hold our relationship with people higher than our pride. Far too many marriages crumble because they are too busy pointing the finger of blame rather than opening the arms in love.

I encourage you to ask if you need forgiveness and give it when asked. Satan wants Christians to hold grudges and act like we don’t love people. Paul says that we should not be outwitted and that we should know that this unforgiveness thing is part of Satan’s scheme. Kick Satan in the butt and forgive. You will be more like Christ if you do, and something tells me that you will feel better than if you continue to hold that grudge.

September 29, 2011

Bad Mouthing The Family

by pastortimfowler

I had a fellow come by my office yesterday and was asking for help and advice. He did not go to my church nor did he go to any other church. He told me that he was a Christian and that he had just moved into the area about 4 years ago. When he first got here, he visited a church and they were not very friendly, so he did not go back there or anywhere else. He proceeded to tell me how churches and church people were rude, uncaring, and of course, hypocritical. I think he was surprised when at the end of his rant I agreed with him about church people being so uncaring. He was even more surprised when I told him to get the heck out of my office. Just kidding. I did not tell him that, although at times I wanted to.
I did decide to change the subject. I asked if he had a job and he said no, but he was looking. He said that he had been to several places and was not having any luck. He told me that a lot of the places he went to apply at were rude and did not even want to talk to him. Of course I told him that most places of employment were rude, uncaring and hypocritical. I then asked him why he went anywhere else to apply for a job if the first place was so bad. He did not have a response.
He told me that him and his wife were about to get a divorce. It seems that everything that she did was wrong. Probably rude, uncaring, and hypocritical, but I didn’t ask. I did ask what he was doing to reconcile his marriage and he said it couldn’t be fixed. When I asked if they had been to see a counselor he said no, they were all crooks. I told him I agreed, and went outside to steal the tires off his car. That is what us counselors do you know.
He was a likeable guy. I think that he was actually trying to be humble and genuine as he was asking me for help. It was just that continual negative bashing of Christians and the church, of which I think highly of, was starting to get to me. I hear this quite often. People will come to the church for help and bash churches for not doing exactly what they ask. Then expect you to kiss their, never mind. Then they have expectations that you and your church will jump through hoops to help them as they finish telling you that church people are not nice people.
About now there are a few of you saying, “But that’s what churches are supposed to do!” Hold on though, Buckwheat. There is more to it than that.
The church has to deal with two type of people; Christians and those who are not. For those who are not, we are to love them and meet their needs to the best of our ability, and to share the message of love and hope in Jesus Christ. Feeding and clothing and other types of benevolence are part of that, but our number one priority is sharing Jesus’ message of forgiveness and salvation. Even though we want to feed and clothe everyone, if there are no means in which to do this, we still have the hopes of sharing Jesus.
For the Christian, we are to be a family. Families deal with each other differently. There are family values that are expected to be upheld. There are standards that every family member is expected to keep and when a family member needs help, the family helps. But there are always times when if someone in the family rebels and becomes an embarrassment to the family, it sometimes means a separation from the family until reconciliation is made. Sometimes tough love is the answer and sometimes that looks wrong to people outside the family. You never let a family member starve or go homeless or get hurt, but you may let them struggle a while to learn the value of family. I probably need to explain this further, but blogs should not take all day to write or to read.
In closing, I asked if he needed food, shelter, clothes, and even offered my services as a counselor for his marriage. He said no to all. I gave him information on some job leads that I had and invited him to visit our church. But because he said that he was a Christian, I told him that he needed to quit bad mouthing the family or he would probably continue to get the results from churches that he had gotten before. Dad won’t let His children continually talk bad about their brothers and sisters.