When someone has wronged you, it is also helpful to remember that God is sovereign and loving. Therefore, when you are having a hard time forgiving that person, take time to note how God may be using the offense for good.
Is this an unusual opportunity to glorify God? How can you serve others and help them grow in their faith? What sins and weaknesses of yours are being exposed for the sake of your growth?
What character qualities are you being challenged to exercise? When you perceive that the person who has wronged you is being used as an instrument in God’s hand to help you mature, serve others, and glorify him, it may be easier for you to move ahead with forgiveness.
Adapted from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 216.
Food for Thought
Conflict, along with trials, suffering, loss, and other hardships, can be what God uses to bring the most good in our own lives or in the lives of those around us. It’s often the most painful events of life that bring the biggest harvest.
Harvest is a prominent topic at this time of year. Here in Montana, the sugar beet and wheat harvest is taking place, and by all reports, this year will bring a good harvest. The hard work of tilling, planting, and watering through the year is finally coming to a fruitful end.
In the same way, God brings us through the times of conflict, trial, or suffering that can bring a great harvest. Yes, it’s work; often it involves hours (or months) of tears, heartache, and discipline, but the ultimate reward is one of becoming more like Christ.
In these situations, God gives us opportunities to glorify him, to serve others, to be a part of what he is doing, and even to receive personal reward. Yet in our stubbornness, our refusal to forgive, or our demand to be right or vindicated, we fail to seize those opportunities. We miss the very harvest for which we’ve toiled.
The sowing, the tending, and the harvest all depend on each other–one could not happen without the other. But we are promised that “Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:18).
May your harvest be a great one as you sow peace in the midst of the conflicts you face.
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In Christ, Kristina