walk in the word
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
As a pastor of a large church, I’ve prayed with more people on behalf of their families than I can count. We’ve all felt it—there’s no pain like family pain.
The truth is, no matter how successful you may be in other places, if life isn’t working at home, it’s not working—period.
That’s why for the next several weeks on Walk in the Word, we’re going to talk about our families. Before the series “Seven Words to Transform Your Family” begins on Wednesday, I wanted to give you the big picture on how God heals and builds families. They can be summarized in these seven words:
In both my own family and my church family, I’ve witnessed the blessing God brings to families who apply these principles.
As difficult as it may be, forgiveness is the place to start.
Looking for that perfect, model family in the Bible or across the aisle from you in church? Give up—you’re not going to find it. All families are sinful families.
We wish that our families were as perfect as the dreams that we dream—but they’re not. There is hurt and disappointment. There are things that we wish would happen that have not happened. There are things that we wish would have never happened, but they did. As we face these painful realities, we need a plan from God to know how to act upon His truth.
Along with the joys, celebrations, and good things that happen in families, there will be some hurt, disappointment, injury, fall-out, and some consequences. That’s what makes Ephesians 4:31 so necessary. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and evil-speaking be put away from you with all malice.” Those six things are destructive emotions that, if left unresolved, will hit your home like a tornado hits a Kansas farmhouse. Those emotions destroy your family.
The next verse, Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God in Christ forgave you.” You say, “yes, that’s what I need to do. But how?” The How To Do It is in the last part, “Forgive one another even as God in Christ forgave you.” Forgiveness is the cure to family pain. Nothing else will heal:
Those of you who have invested decades in the time solution know that, as raw as ever, time heals nothing.
I’m totally for counseling but I’m not for worldly solutions to spiritual problems.
When you’re intent on making someone pay, you’re usually the one who does.
Not moving away . . . and
Not changing your name . . .
So…what works? Glad you asked. Here’s the solution:
Forgiveness is an act of your will. It’s a choice you make to release a person from the obligation that resulted when they took something from you.
This is where you say, “Lord, would You bring to my mind all of the people I need to forgive?” When you are willing to pray that, get a piece of paper ready and jot their names down. When you pray, name the person and then name the pain. Say, “God, I forgive Bill for . . . ” and I say it right before the Lord. God hears and He answers.
In the crisis of that moment incredible healing happens. I have seen people freed. This can be your day. Name the person and name the pain. And then forgive them.
You may be saying, “James, I can’t do that. It’s too hard.” Do you think God would ever command you to do something that was beyond your ability? Sure—it is too hard for you. You must do it through Christ who has forgiven you. Do it today.
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