“I have offended a friend”
To experience forgiveness is to receive a gift.
Recently I was out to lunch with some friends and new acquaintances. We were having a wonderful time until I began telling a story, and used an ethnic one liner from my childhood, without even thinking. Immediately, the Holy Spirit let me know that I had offended my new acquaintance. NOTE: The Holy Spirit works. Within five minutes I pulled this lady aside and profoundly apologized saying, “I am so sorry, and will never, by the grace of God, use that phrase again.” She confirmed that she had been deeply offended by my insensitivity. She was so gracious and forgave me. She then said, “It is over and I forgive you. Don’t even bring it back up. It is forgotten.” I was so glad I had humbled myself and taken the opportunity to fix it on the spot… not letting time make it worse.
When you are in need of forgiveness, in a human relationship, you have to realize that the offended may not be willing to give you such a gift, and to wipe your slate clean. Repenting to God is imperative, but He does require you to HUMBLE yourself and try hard to make it right with the offended person.1 You have got to work on restoring the relationship… Even pastors have to listen up on this one. No one gets a Pass on this.
We need to realize that we are the very people Jeremiah was talking about.2 Our hearts can be deceitful, and we are capable of being offensive. Could it be that the old prophet saw you in history with all the others?
Please insert your name in the blank: “The heart of _____ is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it.”3
“I was DEEPLY offended by a friend”
To become a fulltime FORGIVER can be exhilarating.
Is it true that a coin really does have two sides?
Is it true that a Bowie knife cuts both going and coming?
Is it true that a bus can run over you whether it’s going in forward or reverse?
Is it true that, the statement “Forgiveness is a Gift”, does not just refer to the one receiving forgiveness, but also requires action by the one who needs to give it?
I’ve known people who just could not get by the fact that they have been deeply offended.
I have friends who have become wearied over an offence. I feel the frustration, the pain and the anguish exuding from their very soul. But they have trouble saying the words, “I forgive you.” The challenge is that, unless they forgive, they will move into personal stages of: difficult, then cranky, then hard-hearted and finally flirt with becoming Unchangeable, inflexible and unbending themselves. How much it would help if they’d just utter these words: “I forgive you for what you did and I want you to know I still love you.” After a while, nothing but FORGIVENESS, will cleanse the soul, and prepare us for eternity. Money won’t heal it, “things” won’t make it feel better, and grieving about it will only make it worse. Let us never be like the “Unmerciful Servant”.4 Ultimately, it can even destroy your health.
What I have described is a natural human emotion, but there is another human emotion I have more trouble with. That is when someone lays everything on the line and refuses to forgive, unless restoration is made.5
“How many times must I forgive”, Peter asked Jesus? “Seven times?” Jesus responded, “No seventy times seven.”6 This seems un-believable, un-thinkable and for some almost “un-doable”.
My Challenge to you:
Is any kind of offence listed as an exception? Jesus said “Forgive, as much as 70X7”. Are you willing to respond?
“Forgiveness is a gift”. Some will say, “I need that gift of forgiveness.”
Others will think, “No, my situation is a principled and different exception.” Is it really? Don’t kid yourself. You and I are both flesh and we must have a touch of “Divine accountability” to work in us now.
Take that long walk, Make that hard call, think it through, but do it before the final days of your life, which are truly numbered… and are no more.
My prayer for you:
Lord Jesus, please open our eyes, so we will realize that life is too short, and eternity too long to embrace offence. Otherwise, it’ll get into your bones and take you to an early end.
Father, please help me, with forgiveness. I need it, and others need what I have to give:
Response 1: Lord, I ask you to forgive me, and restore me to fellowship with you, and with those whom I’ve offended.
Response 2: Lord, I will forgive and start to restore my relationships. I have too much invested in this person to continue being an UNFORGIVER.
1 Matthew 5:23-26 Read these verses carefully
2 Jeremiah 17:9 “Heart Check-up more often than annually… daily”
3 Don’t forget to place your name into the __________
4 Matthew 18:23-34 Parable of the “Unmerciful Servant”
5 Let God require what He will, but you must forgive unconditionally.
6 Matthew 18:21-22 Jesus said, “… until seventy times seven.”