Lately, world attention has been locked on the conflict between North Korea and the United States. The growing tension found in rhetoric being bantered back and forth has led to what some say is the real possibility of war which may in fact happen because of a misunderstanding, misconception or overreaction from both sides. If that were to occur then you can expect lethal activity to occur.
This world crisis is akin to the Christians own plight in the world. The Bible does not speak in rhetoric. Spiritual warfare began after the fall and Christians are not to take flight but fight against the encroaching pagan influences on the Christian faith that seeks to neutralize it or destroy it altogether. The world will not surrender nor give an inch; it is spoken of being in darkness whereas Believers are the light whereas both are incompatible and cannot be mixed. Where the world lies in deceit, lies, and corruption Christianity makes sounds to the contrary voice and teaches all that is good, pure, and holy. Unlike a company of evil doers in the first century, Jesus Christ remained unaffected, without offence. He told his disciple that He would pay the temple tax so not to offend (Matthew 17:27). He resisted the temptation to chastise his disciples for arguing over who would be the greatest in God’s Kingdom even though earlier they had been informed about His Crucifixion; instead He taught them about humility as the pressing condition for Kingdom greatness. He then spoke of the offences that are expected to come from the world against His church and children and the damning warning against those who offend them. Jesus warned against offences that Believer may commit as well, possessing human bodies with hands feet, eyes that may serve as instruments to offend. It is for this reason that Jesus tells us how to deal with offences when they are exacted against us so that we do not unholster sinful reactions against the offender(s). If the light is to shine in darkness it must remain light and not lose its luster by becoming embittered or hateful when offended.
The Believer has two recourses which he may follow when dealing with offences against himself. He may simply overlook the offence. In such a case, the relationship is manageable and can continue since the one offended does not see the need to pursue further remedial action. He may hope for repentance but will not pursue it. He is prepared to let go of it, to drop it altogether. The offence is remembered no more and resolve is made never to bring it up again. This is an intentional act that can only be exercised by love. Love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5). Hatred stireth up strifes, but love covereth all sins (Proverbs 10:12). The end goal is for the relationship to be restored to its previous state of peace. This is the all important objective in view: to reconcile differences so that the relationship returns to health once again. This cannot be emphasized too much. Always in Biblical problem solving the aim is to mend broken relationships; where this is not achieved the Scriptures have not been honoured.
The second means at our disposal in forgiveness is when repentance is absolutely necessary because the breach in relationship is far too great to overlook, or that it carries consequences too weighty to dismiss it. One instance of this is when it becomes necessary to exercise the churches cooperation to regulate situations that may affect the testimony of Christ or members of the Church (Matthew 18:15-20). Furthermore, forgiveness should never be allowed to cover up or become an enabler for the person to continue in sin. It takes wisdom and grace to deal with problems affecting the Church and its members and whether or not successful, a Christian must place complete faith in God, knowing that Biblical means are being exercised. Following God’s prescribed means for forgiveness should always end in peace for both parties if efforts are made to truly seek to honour Jesus Christ. Where there is indifference in attitude and lack of obedience then the process toward reconciliation is either stalled or compromised and re-establishing relationships will fail. All too often not enough emphasis is placed on seeing forgiveness from a divine standard. For this to happen, we must see that the point of reference for our motivation is God alone. The Lord taught a parable precisely on this point.
Jesus presented a story about forgiveness in Matthew 18:15-20. It underscores the kings willingness to forgive a large amount of money owing Him by his servant. The king in this story, epitomizes God’s willingness to forgive us our many sins, so that we ourselves are to do likewise with others. Based on God’s great forgiveness toward us, we should be prepared to forgive others too, the little that it is in comparison to God’s. The foundation for forgiveness is God’s amazing grace to richly forgive us and it is to be understood, practiced, and reciprocated among ourselves. (Matthew 18:15-20).
Undoubtedly, a many of us find it hard to forgive. Keep in mind that the practise of forgiveness is a sure sign of being forgiven (Matthew 6:14, 15), that being the case, surely there is cause for personal circumspection in many of our church members today. The world cannot enter into this type of letting go of past offences, or reconciling differences in the same manner that the Christian can, Christ is always glorified when brethren truly seek the welfare of one another to repair and restore broken relationships.
For you who has not known this type of relationship to Christ that we have spoken about but hope to experience, your first course of action is to seek forgiveness of your sins at the cross of Jesus. He will heal you of any guilt and shame and blot out your sins completely so that you will not die in your sins, but be justified and made-ready for heaven!
I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins (Isaiah 43:25 cf Jeremiah 31:34).