Misunderstandings and Forgiveness
by Steve Countryman 5/21/2011 / Christian Living
It is where the devil operates. Misunderstandings can become a snare to you. It can lead to hard feelings, un-forgiveness, hatred, deception, assumptions, defensive posturing and stagnant spiritual growth. Misunderstandings can steal your joy and peace. It can ruin friendships, families, marriages, working relationships and trust. Misunderstandings can seem harmless enough but usually grows rapidly to a destructive size. It can disarm and make useless the average Christian. Misunderstandings can be a major distraction in your life. It adds bitterness to your feelings toward others which makes it very hard to show God's love to them. Most of the time misunderstandings are caused by miss-spoken words or how something was said. It can also occur from another person's conversation with you, "he said, she said". More often than not the other person doesn't even know that they did or said anything that offended you.
Exodus 20:16 "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." Gossip/rumors are one of the best sources of misunderstandings. Most gossip/rumors are made up of a little truth wrapped heavily in assumptions, exaggerations, missed quotes, personal opinions and out right fabrication. The more a rumor is repeated and spread the more it is exaggerated and opinionated. There are people out there who just love to hear the "dirt" on someone else especially if it is someone they don't like. Most people will not bother to find out the truth for themselves but rather continue to believe the lies. Worst yet those are the ones who normally continue to spread those rumors to others. Gossip/rumors have caused careers to end, marriages to fail and friendships to fall apart. Churches have lost pastors, staff and church members to gossip/rumors. The damage in some cases even caused some to lose their faith in their fellow Christians and in God.
I'm sure we can all think of someone in our past or present who even after being confronted with the truth about the gossip/rumors they were spreading would still not let go of the lies. Those are the people who you can't afford to buddy around with or even call them friends. They will always drag you into their world of gossip/rumors, lies and deception. They do however desperately need Jesus' help, God's love, The Holy Spirit changing power and your prayers. The best way to stop gossip/rumors is not to repeat them!
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Matthew 6:14-15 14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Forgiving others is so critical to our own salvation and our daily walk with the Lord.
You cannot let misunderstandings, gossip/rumors and outright confrontations where you, your family or friends are involved "chain" itself to you. You must not allow it to drag you down into the pit of un-forgiveness. To allow the offense to chain itself to you means now it is part of your life for you now carry it with you everywhere you go. Oh you might try to ignore it from time to time or even leave it buried now and then. But if that person's name is even mentioned you quickly grab that offense back up, dust it off and start re-telling your side of the story to anyone who will listen again. You then re-live the experience, feelings, pain and hurt ALL over again with each re-telling of the story. Each time it is told the root of bitterness that has buried itself deeper in you grows bigger.
You must forgive and release all parties involved. To forgive is not giving permission to allow them to keep doing it to you or condoning their actions/behavior. To forgive and release is not to hold it against them, keep bringing it up, using it in an argument, referring to it, make jokes about it or use it in a sarcastic way. To release them it is not that you have forgotten it, it is that the offense is no longer important to you. When you ask for God's help to forgive and release someone He will grant you that ability and make it easier for you to release them.
Confronting the offending party with forgiveness, love with humility to even apologize for contributing to the offense will often times bring peace and understanding. If they will not accept your sincere offer or they want to continue to act indifferent toward you just "shake the dust off of your shoes" and walk away. In your heart you have forgiven them if they accept it or not. Likewise if someone has offended you who is no longer living you can and should still forgive them in your heart. Just ask the Holy Spirit to help you. To forgive doesn't mean that you are now best friends or that you even have to like them. As a Christian you are to love them as a brother or sister in the Lord. Christ gave us the ultimate example of this while He was on the cross. Luke 23:34 Jesus said "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Jesus did allow himself to become offended at their actions.
Do not let misunderstandings stand in the way of your relationships. Do not allow un-forgiveness to take root in your soul that would keep you from entering heaven and from allowing God to use you here on earth! Just ask God to search your heart for anything that you might be holding against another. He will bring to mind and you will have the opportunity to forgive and release them with God's help. That is what being a Christian is all about. We are not like this world, nor are we of this world, for we are citizens of God's kingdom and act accordingly in His love! It is time to stand!
My name is Steve and I was born and raised in a good Christian home in Phoenix Arizona. In 2004 God spoke to me to let me know that He would start sharing things with me that I would share with others. Little did I know how powerful and meaningful those things would be! Thank you Lord!!