Called to reconcile…
We are called to reconcile.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart. (Matt: 18:21-35)
Just a few weeks ago I received a text from a friend who’d been under the spell of the false shepherd and his wife at the same time I was there. It was so good to be restored to her and to recognize the deception we’d both been under. God opened my eyes long before she came to recognize the truth about the spiritual abuse we’d both endured.
During that in between time, she made videos criticizing me for going public on my 13 years of spiritual abuse. Tim and Carla Williams used her to try to destroy my reputation. It stung and I was angry that she would side against me in a public video and other documentation, all to try to appease the anger (or righteous indignation as they labeled it) of the “pastor” and his wife.
While I couldn’t be reconciled with her since she was still under his influence, I could make a healthy choice to forgive her, just as I had been forgiven by my Father. Starting with the parable of the unforgiving servant, the stage is set to foundationally understand that no one, no matter what they have done, can owe us even a fraction of what we’ve already been forgiven by our Heavenly Father.
So, what gets in the way of forgiveness? As I watched the Reconciliation Training Video our new church is presenting to us in this season of transition, the answers came like popcorn popping… Pride, Self-righteousness, and False forgiveness to name a few.
Wait, what is that? False forgiveness? Ahhhhh, saying you forgive but then hanging onto the offense. Yeah, I’ve done that before!
As the unpacking of these truths began, the four toxins of idolatry were presented:
As we dive into all four of these toxins and understand their powerful antidotes, two key points are set as a foundation:
1. LOVE is the antidote that transforms the heart – 1 Cor. 13:4-8 outlines what love IS and what love IS NOT. The one attribute that totally connects with this topic of reconciliation with our brothers and sisters is this one: LOVE KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS. I find myself forgiving and then picking it up again, making my list of all the wrongs. Have you done that?
2. COMMUNICATE WITH LOVE. Matt. 18:15-20 is the gold standard for Christian reconciliation. And you know what? Most church conflict FAILS at this – they don’t go to the person who offended them, and because of this, love has been corrupted by the toxins of idolatry. I have watched this play out and have been shocked at how little love is shown in some churches.
This information is so transformational, I decided I’m going to share it in small chunks breaking it up by each toxin and its antidote. So, I think I’ll wrap this week’s post with this very first mic drop moment of this segment of the training:
If you are easily offended, you are controlled by pride.
This goes right along with my ministry teaching on how our wounds, if not healed, will become idols. Psalm 147:3 says He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. The word “wound” in the Hebrew is “atstebeth” which is defined as AN IDOL!
Our unhealed wounds (idols) control us instead of God and our behavior becomes toxic and leaves us vulnerable to deception.
Have you ever found yourself overly sensitive in a negative way toward someone who treated you poorly in your view or whose behavior did not meet your expectations?
I encourage you to take some bold action steps:
- Lay your offense before the Lord in prayer, repenting for your unforgiveness when our Heavenly Father has forgiven you with no strings attached.
- Write in your journal all the ways the offender made you feel by their actions, and then one by one, forgive them, renounce your bitterness, and release that person to the Lord.
- Then ask God to cleanse you from the idolatry and pride that has been hiding in your heart fueling you to remain offended.
May He do a work in our hearts as we walk in the grace He provides to lay down our offenses and forgive.
Thanks for spending some time with me today!
Welcome, I'm Athena!
I start each day by tithing the first hour to the Lord in prayer, reading the word, doing word studies of the Text, and asking God how I can live out what I am reading. This time is usually met with meditation on devotionals that are usually written by dead guys like Oswald Chambers, CS Lewis, Charles Spurgeon, AW Tozer, and Andrew Murray.
Right now, I’m reading a daily devotional with a friend called Tozer on the Almighty God for my focus for the day. It's fun to see individually what pulls us in to spur one another on to good deeds!
The Bible is filled with action steps to walk out in practical and intentional ways. This sets my day in motion to walk it out! I hope this is your heart, too.
Consider this a personal invitation to join me in this journey!