To be clear, there are times when God makes provision for us to move away from abusive relationships or false teaching in order to protect us from violence or harm.
There are other times when even minor disagreements escalate and take on a life of their own. Left unattended, the fallout from these arguments can poison the relationships of an entire group of people. Harboring anger or resentment toward someone also scars and deadens our own heart as we carry the baggage of past hurts into present and future relationships or churches.
Our capacity to love and worship God is severely affected as well. If our need to harbor anger towards someone supersedes Jesus’ call for reconciliation among Christ-followers we are doing a great disservice to the Gospel. In a real sense, we have created a false idol when we cherish our hurt and anger more than God. So how do we destroy the false idols of harbored anger and unresolved hurt? Rather than giving advice, here are some scripture passages to read, digest, and pray over.
“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.”
1 John 2:9-10, NIV
“If you love me, keep my commands.”
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Colossians 3:13, NIV
“[Jesus said] This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.”
Matthew 5:23-24 The Message
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Matthew 6: 9-15, NIV
Choosing to be an authentic, Spirit- and Word-empowered worshiper means that we will humbly and obediently respond to God and do the hard work of being reconciled with other Christ-followers. I’m convinced it begins with prayer and then moves into acting on God’s promptings in our lives and relationships.
I encourage you to join me to pray for the people God has placed in your heart and mind as we ask God to make us instruments of His peace.
God bless you!