apologize, apology, family, forgive, forgiveness

Just Forgive. You Can’t Win.

Over the summer, we had the wonderful opportunity to spend a few days at the first church PB was called to pastor.  He was 22 years old, and I was 21 – WOW!  I imagine that we did a lot of things wrong (even though we thought they were right).  I imagine that some struggled to see us as ministry leaders when we were the same ages as their children or grandchildren.  I struggled to see myself as a ministry leader.  However, I never felt that they didn’t love us, or disagreed openly with what God had us doing there.

St. Luke Baptist Church, Ruther Glen, Virginia
St. Luke Baptist Church, Ruther Glen, Virginia

One of our mothers there, recently passed away and we were not able to get back there for her funeral.  She took care of us and never looked for acknowledgement.  Many Wednesday nights after bible study, we would find a grocery bag full of food placed on the back seat of our car.  Being that it was just the two of us, those dinners would last us through the rest of the week!  Then, her sister would feed us on Sundays and send us home with to-go containers that would last us until Wednesday night’s bible study class again!  I’m getting teary-eyed just thinking about how kind this family has always been to us, and how God used them to provide food and family for us when we were in that Hamburger Helper stage of “good meals” for dinner and didn’t live near our own families.

During our most recent visit there, one of the family members of these mothers (she was like our Big Sis) came up to me and said, “I need to ask for your forgiveness.  I just need for you and Rev. [PB] to say that you forgive me. I’ve had some struggles and I need to know that y’all forgive me.”

“Ummmm, okay?  I forgive you.” and the conversation was over with a hug.  I later found out that PB had a similar conversation with  Big Sis.  We served at our first church from 1998 through 2000.  Fifteen years later…FIFTEEN…at least…before we discover that something we said, did, or didn’t do had caused Big Sis some pain, hurt, anger, or sadness.  We had NO idea!

How many of us are carrying around some buried hurt and anger for someone and they have no idea?  I wonder if each time Big Sis received a Christmas card from us, if it brought up ill feelings towards us?  Each time we’ve dropped by for a visit in the past, did it make her feel uncomfortable?  Blog family, it is not a good idea to live this way!

Try this instead:

1.PRAY!  We always tend to try to solve things on our own first, and when that doesn’t work, we pray.  Pray FIRST!  Have you seen the new movie, War Room?  Go, ASAP! Prayer is so powerful, yet we forget just how powerful God is.

2. HAVE A ONE-ON-ONE.  Let me just say that I do not like confrontation.  So, if you’re like me, this can be hard!  It’s easy to talk to the friend of a friend that you’re upset with, or to get your frustrations out in a journal entry, but to go to them yourself?  Rare!  It is what we are supposed to do, though.  It’s in Matthew:

15-17 If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love. (MSG) {Emphasis mine}

3. WAIT AND SEE.  What if the person feels they don’t owe you an apology?  What if you don’t want to accept their apology?  What if you don’t want to apologize?  Remember this:  God ALWAYS wins.  If you are wrong, He’s going to show you that you’re wrong.  If they are wrong, He’s going to show them that they are wrong.  He wins every single time.  God had to work on Big Sis, and He’s had to work on me before, too!  Eventually, someone is going to learn a lesson.

Have a great Labor Day weekend, and keep practicing forgiveness!


7 thoughts on “Just Forgive. You Can’t Win.”

  1. I am still in the process of letting things go….it is difficult but I am trying. Thanks for the reminder Renee, Evelyn, Mrs. Kay….love you much.

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