Monday, September 19, 2011
Where is peace? 3
Little problems kill!
The Apostle Paul, well probably Paul, as the writer of Hebrews chastens us further about not dealing with problems early on in chapter 12, verse 15.
“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile [or destroy] many.
When you allow bitterness and anger to go on without dealing with it, you will not only destroy yourself; you and many others may be destroyed with you…
Take care of problems while they are small before they have a chance to grow into bushes that are entrenched in the ground.”
Paul is not only telling these women to fix the problem that was standing between them, but he told them how.
He told them to “agree with each other.” That’s the NIV translation.
The New King James says, “be of the same mind”.
Another translation has “to mind the same things”.
These women could not change what had happened. And this is where a lot of us get stuck. We keep replaying the “crime” against us, over and over again. We replay it, look at all the angles, interject what people should have said, know what we should have said if we had thought faster…But it’s done and gone. We cannot undo a thing that has happened in the past to try to make it right in the present. This is impossible.
But, what these ladies could change was how they felt about the situation and their attitude toward one another. They had to change their mind about who was at fault… They had to back away from who caused the fight, and being attached to being right.
They had to change their mind about who should be the first to seek forgiveness and restoration. We have to assume that somewhere beneath all this apparent enmity, they longed for reconciliation. If they had been friends before, all that they shared, all the joy and support they had found in each other, was now lost.
They had to change their mind about the character of the other person.
You know how it is. When we can’t have our own way, when we feel we have been wronged, we start to attack the other person's character rather than dealing with the situation.
A couple of chapters before this, Paul says,
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
Jesus displays an attitude of humility and sacrifice, not of self-seeking and pride. That’s the kind of mind that these ladies needed to have.
Paul goes on to remind them of something else.
He reminded them of all the work that they had done together in the past. They had faithfully served the Lord and their church by working to bring other people to faith in Jesus Christ.
They had seen many, including themselves, receive forgiveness from the Lord and be released from their past, but now these two were unwilling to forgive each another and receive release from a bondage that they themselves had created…
Did you catch that? They had been released from their past. They were now in a position that they have an opportunity to seriously think about releasing someone else from similar type of bondage.
Ok,then... who is there in your life that you hold prisoner?
We have travelled this road before, and we will travel it again, but besides them, you do understand that you hold yourself in that same prison.
Even if you don’t really want to let them go, shouldn’t you release yourself?