Relationship Realities (4:1-5:32)
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ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode 106 · 6 months ago

Relationship Realities (4:1-5:32)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

It's not good for people to be alone. But what happens when relationships go bad? We know that is part of the reality we live in. The children of the first humans knew that very well. Your relationship might be ruptured but there is hope for restoration. Message from Jerry Evens.

It is so good to be able to be back with you and this time around my wife is able to join me, and so I'm glad that Rachel's here and we are glad to be here and just to be able to visit with you and to hear of all the exciting things that are constantly going on here at Connect Church and how God is using you. And I'm excited to hear some of the things that are going on, some things you're gonna be doing in the community. And I have to admit, when I saw on facebook last night of that water slide, I wasn't sure if that was part of the UH, the process of becoming a member here of this church, or you were just having fun, but it looked like it was a lot of fun. But you know, today we're gonna be talking about something that's important to all of us, something that impacts all of us, no matter where we are, no matter what age we are at. It's relationships. Relationships are complicated. Relationships are complex, but relationships are necessary in our lives. Whenever I'm dealing with clients to book titles, that often come to my mind how to deal with the fact of one is hurt. People hurt people. Would you agree? Most of the time when we get hurt by someone, we respond out of that hurt, and so that's not a healthy way to do it, but that's often the way that we do that. But another book titled that you may like and you may want to research the book and actually buy the book, and it's entitled I'd like You more if you were more like me, and I think that that's how most of us live our lives. But it really is a great book on how to have healthy connections, how to have godly connectedness with one another, because connectedness deals with friendships, it deals with relationships as far as uh siblings, it deals with marriage. Tomorrow my wife and I are going to be celebrating thirty five years of marriage. She's been with me for thirty five years and if you want to send sympathy cards, you'll just join in with the rest of the people who send them to her on a regular basis. But you know, when you're married to a counselor, that's not always a good thing because it can be challenging because you know a counselor always wants to counsel everybody, but you're not allowed to count your own family members and you're not allowed to counsel your wife, and so we have other people on speed out for her if she needs it, when she wants it, and know things along that line. But you know, when you and I think about this whole aspect, about relationships, and again relationships are so key and so vital to us, you know there's actually studies that are done that when you and I engage in regular, healthy relationships, it allows us to have longer life. It actually allows us to be able to have less anxiety and less depression. There's a lot of other positive things to take place. In fact, if you do any study with neuroscience and other things along that way, you'd find out that when we're in healthy relationships and constantly engaging in them, we find that there's a chemical cocktail that goes over our brain from oxytocin and dopamine and Serotonin and many other things. It's just the way that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. And then again, if you were at the picnic last night, you were experiencing some of that chemical cocktail, not the food, the other things that were going on when you were connected and relating to one another but here's the...

...reality. Even when Covid was taking place, part of the reason why a lot of people were struggling with depression, which because we were isolated from one another. We're designed, were created. One of the one of the realities that we're gonna be talking about when it comes to relationship realities, has to do with this whole idea that we are created for connection, and we're gonna talk about that here in a few moments. I want you to see there on the screen genesis chapter four versus one through eight. It's kind of the text that we're gonna be using here this morning, since now Adam has sexual relations with his wife Eve and she became pregnant and she gave birth to Kane and she said, with the Lord's help, I produced a man. Later she gave birth to his brother and named him able. So you have Caine and Abel first brothers that you have the oldest and the youngest. Now there's some interesting dynamics that will take place there in a moment. When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Kane cultivated the ground. When it is time for the harvest, Kane presented some of the crops as a gift to the Lord. Able brought a gift the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted able and his gift, but he did not accept Kane and his gift. This made Kane very angry and he looked dejected. Why are you so angry, the Lord asked Kane. Why do you look so dejected when you are accepted? Because you mean you will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out. Sin Is Crouching at the door eager to control you be but you mustn't do it or and be its master. One day Kane's suggested to his brother, let's go out to the fields. While they were in the field, Kane attacked his brother able and killed him. There's some interesting family dynamics taken place there, right. I think they could have used a counselor in fact they had a counselor God was there. Well, we'll talk about that again as we go along. It's it's interesting because again, if you look at the pecking order, you have Kane, who was the oldest, you know, and and Abel was the youngest. I don't know if there was a little bit of rivalry going on there. Able might have had the same mindset that I did. You know, I'm the last of six, my wife is the last of five, so we often say that our parents kept having kids until they reached perfection, and all of our siblings agree with us. So you know that creates a little bit of rivalry sometimes. You know, the younger one gets a little more attention than the other. We don't have a whole lot of information in the back story here with Kane and Nabel, but what we do know is that there was something that went horribly wrong and it didn't need to. And so this morning we do want to look at this whole idea of the relationship realities and we're gonna look at three of them and all three of them could be individual topics and discussions for an entire day, but we're not going to be able to do that. So I'm gonna be giving you broad brush strokes over each one...

...of these things and if you'd like to have further discussion we can do so in the time that follows. So there and one of the things I wants to see here with the first relationship reality is that we are created for connection. Did you know that you and I were created for connection? In fact, in Genesis Chapter One, verse six, if you have your Bible App out, you're gonna be clicking through a few things here this morning. But in Genesis Chapter One, verse we find here that then God said, let us make human beings in our image to be like us. They will rain over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky and livestock and the wild animals of the earth and the small animals that scurry along the ground. Now I want you to understand when God said let us make man in our image, God is not schizophrenic there. He's actually talking about the trinity. It's the father of the son and the Holy Spirit who are in communication at the point of of creation. And what we find here that's interesting is that when he says let us make man or humans in our image, if you look at the first five days, and you've already been going through Uh Genesis, so I'm not gonna go back through some of that, but what you would find is that up until you know, the first five days of creation, it would almost seem as if God was actually, if I'd say that he was, it was impersonal God created, God spoke it and it was created. There wasn't any special connection to it. But when he made man, he shifted things. There's a dynamic that changes in that dynamic. We see there again when he says, let us make man in our image to be like us. And again there's a lot that we could go into there, but that's really a communication, a demonstration of relationship. There's an aspect of where God is going to be relating to us and he's created a being who can relate with him and there's created within us a desire to want to create, to relate to the creator. That's why so many people are searching to connect with God and all different kind of fashions, sometimes following statutes, sometimes following animals, all kinds of ways, because there's a vacuum in their heart, as when sin came into the world. They desperately longed to be connected to the Creator. And yet they're not always following exactly that what God has designed them to be connected. But we find here, though, that not only had the guy said that he wants us to be created in his image, but in Genesis, chapter two and verse eighteen, he also goes on to say in day six of creation, that is not good, that man should be alone. And all the people said, yeah, if you have good, healthy relationships, you say amen. If relationships aren't so good, you don't say Amen. I understand that, but the way that you and I were intentionally destined to be is to be in relationship with one another. You know, there are a lot of people who come in to see me and they fall into one or two categories. Either they want to...

...avoid others and the emotions and the thoughts and feelings of other people because it feels like land mines and they're just gonna be explosive and destructive, or they're the other ones who just constantly are craving to be seen and to be heard and to be valued by other people. Both of them are actually unhealthy. You See, you and I are actually designed to be loved, valued and accepted. Did you know that Adam and Eve had that before the fall? But after the fall there was this need that they had, and you and I today still have those God given desires. However, we often seek to seek to have them accomplished and met in ungodly ways, and that's what gets us into trouble and that's exactly what happened to can enable and again we'll see that here in just a few moments. I just want to remind you that you and I not only are created for connection, you and I are created for community. Were not created to live independently of one another. We're created to be independent, or exhume to be interdependent upon one another so that we can help one another, serve one another. Did you know that there are at least fifty nine one another's in scripture? Fifty nine were to care for one another. We're to pray for one another, we're supposed to bear one another's burdens, and that's just scratching the surface. There's a lot of one another's and it's great to be a part of a family, isn't it? A healthy family, a family where people really do care and concerned? And that's one of the things that I've always appreciated when I was a pastor and serving in different communities, and that when you had a church in the local community, people could come from a lot of different backgrounds, experience a lot of different hurts and trauma, and yet if the congregation is healthy and if the church is healthy, it can be such a safe place, a place to grow, a place to experience what God intended for you to experience that, oftentimes you probably didn't outside of maybe that local church scene. And so I want you just to be reminded the fact that you and I are destined and created for connection. How are you doing with that? If you don't really care for connection, again, that's not healthy. If you care too much for connection, that's not healthy. There has to be a healthy balance to where our significance and our value is not found from other people and what they think about us, but our creator and what he thinks of us. And so what I wanted to be able to see there here today, and I really wants to focus our time mostly on this, and that is relationship reality number two, and that is dealing with relationships rupture. How many of you have ever had a relationship that ruptured? All the hands go up right, because as soon as you put two people together, that's a that's a definition for conflict, and that just means I have job security in my line of work, because we're always trying to find ways in which we can unlearn those unhealthy ways in which we have interact do with one another. And what...

...is the healthy, the God given ways that he wants us to really to focus in and and to really be able to minister to one another. But what I find here is really that at the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart. Let me say that again. At the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart. I just want to share just a couple of verses here before we look back and see and talk a little bit about cane and Nabel in properly. For three, it says guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. That's interesting because in the Hebrew language the heart was really the hub of thought and emotion, not just emotions. We often think about it, but thought and emotion, and how we think influences what we believe and how we behave. And so God reminds us, and Solomon here, the wisest men who ever lived, reminds us, that we're supposed to guard our heart, that hub of what we're thinking. What are we allowing to influence our thoughts and influence our emotions? So many times we believe more in what we feel and acted though that's truth compared to what truth really is, and we live more by our feelings. And any time, as I often tell many of my clients, any time you allow the the engine, if you would have your life, to be the feeler, you'll be derailed every single time because your feel of changes depend upon what you ate, depend upon what somebody said, depended upon how somebody looked at you or didn't look at you. All kinds of things can change that mood and derail you. So we're supposed to guard our hearts. But one of the other things that we find here is that in Matthew Fifteen, in verse nineteen, it says for from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying and slander. So you get the idea that the heart is a kind of a key matter, isn't it? I could go through case studies and I could go through a lot of different things and tell you why relationships rupture and we could go through different contexts and situations and they're very, very important, but when you're get into the core of it, it really comes down to it, it's a heart matter. When you and I are struggling, when you and I are seeking to have other people validated as and and other people to help us to see value in ourselves when we are struggling with that, and people don't do that and we hit depression and we hit anxiety and we're ready to check out. Guys, wait, amute, wait a minute, wait, yes, Tho's a God given needs that you have, but you're seeking them in ungodly ways. Why, if you empower just the people in this room, do you determine your sense of value and your sense of worth? You'll be like this and I'll see you regularly in my practice if you allow your significance in yourself worth to be found in Christ and Christ alone. Why is that helpful? Because God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever, and so what he thinks about us, what he's expecting of us, it doesn't change all over the place. And so when we...

...are actually obedient to him and pleasing him, guess what, we have that sense of connectedness with him and value and significance and worse, and all of a sudden, all that chemical reaction and takes place inside of us, just the way God designed for us to function, and we feel healthy, we feel whole, we feel complete. But one of the other things I want you to also understand is in James for Verse Verses Ones Through Three, and if you're looking at your Bible, if you're looking on your Bible up, I really want you to look there, because this really is part of the crux of what happened to Kin Enabel and James, Chapter Four, verses one through three, we read the following. What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don't they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you want and don't have it, so your scheme and you killed to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can't get it, and so you fight and wage war and take it away from them. Yeah, you don't have what you want because you don't ask from God, and even when you ask, you don't get it because you asked for the wrong motives. You want only what will give you leisure. Wow, you probably don't want me to read that again, but isn't that the reality? If you and I are going to be serious, the reason why quarrels are the reason why relationships often rupture, is because of what we are seeking after, what we're searching after. Yes, other people have wronged us. And yes, there are our trauma, as I said before, the experience that we've had that have happened to us. But by and large, when you and I are interacting with one another, I can think of as I said, I the last of six kids, so you can imagine the quarrels we had. We don't only had quarrels. I remember my brother and I let me just say this, so my brother who's two years older than I am. We took a road trip this summer to Savannah, Georgia to visit my brother who's twoive years older than we are, and then I am, I should say. So we went down there my brother who's two years older than I we haven't been together since eighty two. He was he graduated, I was still in tenth grade. So he was wondering what's this gonna be like? We have been together for that length of time. We're a close family, but he's in another state and so we just don't get together often. But one of the things that my oldest brother brought up, and I thought it was rather interesting because it deals with relationships. So we would often say we had two sets of kids in our family, and my brother, he's so responsible, you know, one of the new of the first born kind of individuals, and he wanted to be begun when he was a kid and my dad said, well, I don't think you should, but if you want to, call the local police office, police officer and see what the rules and responsibilities are. So my brother did. He stopped the police officer one day, got all the information and even after it was all said and done, my dad said no, I just don't think it would be a responsible thing for you to do. and He's like, but dad, I'll just shoot it in the backyard, I won't shoot it other people, I won't aim it. He said no, I just don't think it's a responsible thing. Fast forward, my brother and I show up. My brother has a UH pistol that holds twelve und I end up getting a...

...shotgun that holds a hundred and fifty rounds. Were not only shot at birds and other things. We have be begun fights inside the house. That's how we would settle our quarrels, in our fights and our discalities. Yes, and my mom would often be downstairs while we were upt doing these wonderful things. This is why I'm a counselor today. But the reality of it is is that there are heart issues that you and I often needed to look at. And when it comes to Caine enable, what was their heart like? We don't have a whole lot of information that's given about them. Able, we're told in a couple of different passages of scripture. You know in Genesis Chapter Four for four, able also brought a gift and the best portions of the first born lambs from his flock, and the Lord accepted able and his gift. To See, he gave from a heart of thankfulness. He also gave from a heart of as we'll find out in Hebrews, of faith. God had given a requirement. Not only what are you supposed to they were supposed to give, but where are they even supposed to meet with him, which is part of the discussion as we go along. And so he brings this sacrifice and kine brings a sacrifice. But what made the difference between Kane Sacrifice and Abel sacrifice? What I think is most important for us to really understand from this here is the hard issue. Abel gave from a faithful heart. He was demonstrating faith, as you would find there in Hebrews, Chapter for eleven, verse four, it says it is by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Kane did. Abel's offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man. So he was faithful, he was a man of faith, but he was also righteous. He did what was right. What was that about? Kane? A little bit different when you look at the contrast again in Genesis, chapter four, verse five, says God's talking to him and says why are you so angry? Now that must have been an interesting conversation. Kind of reminds you of the conversation he had with with his dad a little while ago. Where are you? God knows all things, so he knew exactly where he was. But he said, why are you so angry? And in one hand it may look like God was actually selecting favorites. Well, I like able more than I do Kane, and you know, we all want to be accepted, don't we? We all want to have a sense of significance and worth and so, but that's really not what was going on. God told them what the sacrifice needed to be. God told them where they needed to be and what needed to take place. And so what we find here is when God is talking to Kane. He says, why are you so angry? Think about this for just a moment, because anger is usually one step away from danger. It's one letter away from danger, isn't it? And danger usually leads to destruction. So when you and I are talking about this, here we find another messages of...

...scripture, a little bit more about Kane. In First John, Chapter Three, verses eleven and twelve, it says this. This is a message that you have heard from the beginning. We should love one another. We must not be like Kane, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Kane had been doing what was evil and his brother had been doing what was righteous. So there you see that tugger war that was taking place. But what was interesting is that God is when he's talking to Kane. He says, why are you so angry? If you do what is right, you will be accepted. So he knew what was right. He was choosing not to do what was right. It was a wilfulness on his part. In other words, Abel was come in and saying, I know what God wants me to do and I'm going to do that. I don't maybe I always understand why God wants me to do that, but I'm trusting him. That's what it means to have to be a man of faith, to be a person of faith. But when Kane him along, kine was more interested in doing what he wanted to do the way he wanted to do it, and he thought he should be accepted because he was doing it. Can I tell you they're far too many people today who were in churches, who are very religious, but they don't have a relationship with God they want to have. It's almost like they either one to have genie, God is like a genie in the bottle, or they want to just be able to show up and do all the things that look good on the outside, but then go ahead and live life however you want. And that's not the faith that God was talking about. But God desperately longs to be related to you and you to be related to him. Amen. And so you and I were talking about this. Here is so interesting because in Genesis Chapter Four, look at verse seven. Says God warned Kane. This scene was crouching at the door. He was lovingly counseling him, saying, listen, if you don't change your thought process. If you don't start guarding your heart and what's going on in there, you know it's going to lead to destruction, not just able but to his own. And what was Kane's response? Didn't hear to what God had to say, so he went off and did his own thing. In fact, What's interesting here is that when you talk about Sindus crouching at the door, the imagery there in the Hebrew would be that it's like a lion who is just crouching and waiting and just watching his prey and knowing that eventually the prey is not going to be so alert, and when the prey is not so alert, he gassed it and he kills it and destroys it. And that's exactly the way Satan is with us when it comes to relationships with other people. You See, if we're not guarding our hearts, if we're not protecting our hearts, if we're not careful with how we're thinking about other people, guess what? Sindus crouching at the door, and we're right ready to be destroyed just at the moment that we're ready to destroy other people with our tongue or the way that we pull back and and hurt them in different ways. That's hurt people. Hurt people, as we said before, and so we find here that that's...

...oftentimes the way that we often relate to other people. But, as God said here to Kane, if we choose to do what is right, we will be accepted and things will go well. Now, this out of Heaven is not that everything is gonna be perfect, but things can be better. And if you're looking to have healthy relationships, let me tell you, God is the only one who has the right, the effective way of making us to be able to be healthy individuals, even though we've experienced a lot of unhealthy situations in our lives. And so what we find here, though, again, when you're looking at Canyon Abel, and I just want you to think about this before we go on to the last reality here today, we're we're destined and created for connection, and yet so much of what we've experienced in our lives we don't live that out on a regular basis. So we're really not living up to the potential that God is destined for us to experience in him, because of him. But another reality is relationships rupture because of sin, and we can't you know, here's a lesson for all of us. If you haven't learned this already, God has never given us right, the right or the responsibility to change other people. We spend most of our time and most of our energy just trying to change other people, saying if they would just change, then I would be better. Can I tell you, even in my own personal life, I impowered way too many people to determine my sense of happiness, my sense of significance, and I kept going and thinking if I could just get them. Do you know how many people have to keep changing all the time? But when I started working on myself, that's when change started taking place. When I started working on myself and letting God work on me, that's when I started feeling secure, that's when I started feeling significant, that's when I started feeling transformation that I desperately longed for. And all the Times that I was actually hurting other people, it was because of what was going on inside of my own head and my own heart, in my own mind. It didn't mean that other people weren't doing things that were hurtful to me, but my reaction and my responses to them was more sinful than it was from, coming from a godly perspective, and I wasn't walking in the power of the spirit. I wasn't fulfilling and feeling and the experience of all that God intended for me to experience again in him, because of him, in my relationship. So we come to a relationship reality number three. Relationships can be restored. How many of you know that? I have two people who agree with me. The rest of you are like us shure. I hope that's the case. Please let that be the case. It can be, because with God all things are possible. Without God, nothing is possible. But again, I have to remind you that when we're talking about the whole idea of relationship being restored, how do they get restored? Well, it's not other people changing, it's you and I the need to change. But what is it that needs to change? And,...

...as I said in the last uh, reality in this reality is the same. At the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. Let me say it again, at the at the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. So I want us to think here for just a few moments, in the time we have left, think about God's heart. When you think about God's heart? Do you think about his heart towards Adam and eve? Imagine Adam and Eve in perfection. Everything was perfect. There wasn't anything that was wrong. I was going there. But when God created us, he didn't create us to be robusts, he didn't create us to be pappus. He created us with a will. So we have free will. He wants us to choose to follow him, doesn't demand that we follow him. Right. So it is with Adam and Eve. Even in perfection, Satan talked to Eve. Adam wasn't doing what he's supposed to be doing, evaded the fruit, and now we have what we have today. But what was God's heart towards him? And that's really a quick summary. What was God's heart towards them? Well, there was consequences. They had to be kicked out of the garden, but remember their response. First, when their eyes were open, they ran away from God. They covered themselves with fig leaves. That was their attempt to cover their own sin. You Guy said, AH, nope, that's not good, that's not good enough. So he killed an animal, shed his blood to cover them with animal skins. The first time that it an innocent animal had to be killed so that their sins could be addressed. It was a foreshadowing of Christ and what he was going to do for us on the cross of calvary. He could have just annihilated them, he could have just kicked him out and said, okay, I'm gonna Start over again, but he didn't. He demonstrated love, he demonstrated grace, hed imonstrated mercy. They didn't deserve it, they needed it. God gave him exactly what they needed. How about God's heart towards can enable or George Kane? Remember, he knew what was right, he knew what God expected of him. Kane was wanting to do what he wanted to do the way he wanted to do that. You know a couple of people like that. Right wouldn't be you, just people you know. And in that reality, God, knowing his heart, comes up to him and says, Kane, you can almost see that seemed somewhat like a tender kind of counseling kind of thing. Like, Kane, why are you so angry? You know what's accepted, what's acceptable, you know what is right. You know what you need to do. If you just do it, you're to be accepted why are you so angry? In fact, not only is he angry, but his facial expression is demonstrates that his angers would to...

...he was even going into it an aspect of depression that was taking place and had so moved him. And as guy's talking to him, he didn't have to talk to him. He already knew what was going on, but he wouldn't to give another chance. Just do what's right, just do what I've shared with you and it'll be all right, you'll be accepted. That's grace, that's mercy, that's love unmerited. God also reminded Kane if you don't take care of this now and you master it, it's going to master you and it's going to destroy you. But he reminds him in essence, the choice is yours. God's heart, even though Kane didn't do what he want him to do, he still loved him, he was still pursuing him, he was still giving him my opportunities for things to be right, but he was leaving the choice after Kane, regardless of where you are, regardless of what you're doing, do you know that God is still pursuing you? God wants a relationship with you. In fact, not only did I want us to be able to see God's hurt towards Adam and eve and Caine Enabel, but also how about towards you, towards me, pastor Kevin, we're sharing this morning, and one of the verses in here that I have for this morning, and that is in Romans, but God demonstrated his love towards us and that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. That whole aspect is that while we were still God's enemies, when we were helpless and couldn't do anything to redeem ourselves, couldn't even do anything, that we could be seen as significant. God loved you and me. That's huge. And so, as we wrap things up here this morning, you know, if we're gonna talk about how we can uh, heal hurts and and actually be able to have healthy relationships. Just two passages that I wanted to look at. Philippinanes, chapter two, versus five through eight. It sits here in another way. The enemy puts it in your relationships with one another. Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. You want to change your view of other people and start having healthy relationships, have the heart in the mind of Christ. What was his heart in mind when we were still his enemies? His mind was on us. It was all about us, and even though we were doing things that were against him, he was still pursuing us and wanting us and still fighting for that relationship, and he made it possible for us to have a new life in him through the death bear on the resurrection of Christ. Amen. But are we intentional guarding our heart in our mind to make sure that we are actually developing, cultivating and living out the heart and the mind of Christ? It's very easy to do that with the people...

...who like us and care for us. God was doing this for people who are his enemies, you and me. But here's where I want you to just focus for a moment, and I'm gonna wrap things up here. In the fusions four thirty two, it says get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander, as well as other types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiven one another, just as God, through Christ, has forgiven you. If you don't want to live in thirty one, which is all the bitterness, anger and wrath, then you need to be able to forgive other people as you have been forgiven, but most of the time we don't. We don't want to forgive other people. We just want to live in thirty two. We want to experience that forgiveness. We're not really ready to forgive other people, and that's what I want us to think about here. That who wrapped things up. If we're really gonna be able to have healthy relationships, if we're actually gonna be able to restore ruptured relationships, remember we can only work on ourselves. We can only do things that God gives us the opportunity to take care of. One of them is to forgive, and I want you to understand forgiveness and reconciliation are two different things. Most of the time people get those mixed up. Forgiveness is when you release somebody from having to repay you back for whatever they've taken from you, stolen from you, anything along the line. If Lord I forgive them, I've releasing them from owe me anything and I don't expect anything in return. That releases you. Reconciliation can take place when the offending party recognizes that what they've been doing is destructive and painful to you and they ask for forgiveness and there's a demonstration through what they're saying that they understand what they're harm that they're causing you and they don't want to do it again. And it's like a broken bone. It can be ended back together again, but you cannot reconcile with somebody who's just constantly injuring you over and over again. You can forgive them seventy times, seven, four times, but you can't reconcile with them. Reconciliation can only take place when the offender actually he's taken ownership for what they're doing. Then you can begin that process for reconciliation. But one of the last things that a lot of times people get mixed up with when it comes to forgiveness, and that is how am I supposed to forgive and forget? What was that? What happened to me was so traumatic, it was so difficult. How am I supposed to forget that? And can I tell you, God never said that we're supposed to forget. Now it's interesting because we find in scripture where there are verses that kind of intimate that, uh, when our sins and forgiven, that they're never remembered anymore. And so we get the idea that what we're supposed to forgive and forget, and so people are trapped in this, this unhealthy truth that we're supposed to forgive and forget. Can I tell you you won't forget, usually the Rama that has happened, the difficulties. But God wants...

...us to forgive the way he forgets. How does God forgive us? When God forgives us and it says he remembers it no more, it means he doesn't bring it up over and over again. When it's forgiven, it's forgotten forever. So when you and I say that we forgive somebody, we're saying we're not going to keep bringing it up to you. The next time I see you, next time you hurt me, I'm gonna bring it back up again, I'm gonna weaponize, I'm gonna use it again, because it's a great tool, it's a great way. No, can I tell you you will experience great freedom in Christ when you can forgive as God forgives, to not bring it up, to not hold onto it, but to release it so that it is forgiven, forgotten forever. You are destined for connection, you're destined for community. Relationships are going rupture, but you and I have a role, in a responsibility when relationships rupture, and that's to respond with the heart of Christ, to forgive as we have been forgiven. Some of that takes some outside help. That's why I help a lot of people, because it sounds a lot easier than what it is sometimes to walk through, because some of the experiences that we've had in our past affects the way we think and view ourselves, you other people, and even how we relate to God. But can I tell you, relationships are worth it, they're worth fighting for, and relationships that are ruptured can be restored in Christ, because of Christ, if we're following the way he's designed us to function. Let's pray. Father, I thank you so much for the privilege to know you. Thank you for the privilege to be able to worship you and to serve you. And what. I thank you that, even in our fallen world, you pursued us that we could have a personal relationship with you. And what? I thank you that, even after salvation, you continue to want to heal us and help us to cultivate healthy relationships with other people. So we thank you for these UH relationship realities. Thank you that you want a relationship with us and, Lord, I said, I thank you that we can have that relationship with you and I pray that we would want to relate with you and with others in accordance to your word and the way you destined us to experience, so that we can feel and experience that love, that sense of connectedness, that sense of acceptance and value that can only come from the heart of God and send your name. We pray.

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