browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

HOW TO BE A POSITIVE CHRISTIAN WITNESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING

Posted by on December 27, 2013

Not being as unhappy is not the same as being happier.  A little less sullenly miserable does not equal joyful and positive.  Granger got a question in his ‘mystery box’ a while back he thought I might like to take a crack at.  It was in response to his “Write Me Your Heart” post.  We noodled it back and forth, and both thought it could use a bit more public treatment.

As 2013 exits and we anticipate the new year, it’s impossible to touch on every identifiable preparation for how to welcome it.  This one area, however, will go a long way in a lot of ways to help you make a strong start as 2014 becomes a reality.

It’s something every one of us has dealt with.  We’ll continue doing so.  Regardless of your life and relationship status, this basic rule touches virtually every condition in your mind, body and spirit.

Got your curiosity up?  Cool beans.  Here’s the number one rule for daily positive living.

Coffee - sharing a cup

Give instant and unconditional forgiveness in response to apologies you’re pretty sure you’ll never receive.  Read that again to be sure you’re getting what it says.  Take a sip of this fresh, hot Kona Sunrise blend.  Think about it before reading further.

Okay, wait.  That doesn’t reach the other person(s) because they never said they’re sorry.  Doesn’t there need to be an apology given for this to work?  Matthew 18 says there needs to be an effort made to let the offender know they’ve done something against you so it can be made right and your relationship restored.  Half the ‘transaction’, if you want to call it that, is the realization and confession of wrongdoing between the two of you.  So, how does forgiving somebody when there’s no admitted regret, sorrow or desire to make things right affect them?

It doesn’t in the immediate sense.

Well, then, what’s the difference?  If they don’t or won’t care enough to admit—-whatever, why bother?  If they don’t love you enough to want to do the right thing, why lay yourself open to just more of the same treatment and more hurt?  Where’s the value?

It is in your heart, mind and spirit.  The value is that no matter where the other person(s) are inside, the only force they can exert over you is what you allow.  When you openly, immediately and without condition forgive them

  • you remove their ability to control how you feel.
  • you release them and their issues into God’s hands.
  • you release your own spirit to keep expanding and growing.
  • you remove any distaste and vengeful feelings and thoughts whenever you see or hear their name or are around them.
  • you accelerate the positive sweet flow of honest good will toward all others around you.

Forgiveness like this is a powerful force for good.

But they did wrong things, or did things wrong.  What–we just shrug, let them get by with it and maybe let the same thing happen to somebody else?  

God is not unaware.  He knows what’s going down when it’s happening, and He reads the motives behind it all – unlike you and I.  He knows WHY.  And when the time’s right, He’ll make it right.

Scripture’s pretty clear; God has no interest in ANYONE perishing along with The Adversary and his misguided minions.  God’s design right from the get-go has always been repentance and restoration of our love relationship with Him.

The entire thrust of Matthew 18 is reconciliation–restoring a broken relationship.  That’s why the very first move is just between the two of you.  And the very next move is with only a couple of mutually-respected witnesses.  God’s intent is to heal the friendship, not waterboard the wrongdoer.

That may be God’s design, but most of the time I’ve seen church folks dogpile on another brother or sister, wagging tongues and tales right from the start until that person couldn’t come back if they wanted to.   That’s doing Matthew 18 exactly backwards, isn’t it?

Yes, it is.  It’s a horrid misuse of Scripture and abuse of other people for whom Jesus died.  Don’t confuse God’s intent with our ideas.  That’s not reconciliation.  That’s not grace.  And it sure isn’t a Christlike spirit.  All of those are plenty of reason to practice the kind of forgiveness we’re talking about.  Without it, anger becomes spite which becomes hatred.  And that caustic emotional/spiritual sepsis does nothing but destroy.  It cannot be allowed to remain in your heart.

Yes, it’s clear that God won’t forever put up with our wilfulness.  And no, He doesn’t want any of us being lost and apart from Him.  None.  Not you, not me, not them.  And if we’re honest, there’s plenty of wrongdoing in us all to go around.  None of us need to look any farther for culpability than our own mirrors.

Right?

Okay.  So forgiving somebody who never asks for it has very little if any effect on them, but everything to do with giving myself freedom to keep growing inside?

You got it.  But that’s not all.  It naturally sweetens your spirit, your disposition around and toward them.  They can sense it.  They may not understand WHY you’re not uneasy, nervous or on edge around them.

But they’ll pick up on it.  So will others looking on.

Lock in on this:  other people are just as bright and observant as you are.  They see how you’ve been treated, they’ve heard all the gossip and the spin.  They take note that you’re not responding in kind.  You don’t just say you love them anyway.  You’re living it in front of them.  You make an effort to go shake hands, to greet them.

Um, you’re not saying I have to make all nice and paste on a big smile and——-

Correct.  I’m not.  No one, God included, expects you to ignore your own wellness of spirit by forcing yourself to be around that person or persons.  Jesus never went out of His way to spend time around His detractors; you don’t need to, either.  But when you find yourself in company where that person or those people will likely be, be loyal to the Royal in you both.  Be living it in front of them all.  Not joining in reverse gossip and backbiting about them, nor—nor allowing others to do it around you. In short, it is the spirit of Christ being applied in daily life.

Even non-Christians can see the difference–which, I think, just might be the point.

Forgiveness is freedom for you.  It doesn’t ignore others’ duplicity or wrongdoing.  It doesn’t demand an apology first.  Forgiveness relinquishes control of people and situations to God, leaving it and them ALL in His hands.

But you. . .  you are FREE.

And that, my friend, is worth the effort.

Loving you, 
Dan

© D. Dean Boone, December 2013

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *