In the Peanuts comic strip, Charlie Brown is standing in a field and he shouts from the top of his voice, “I love mankind… it’s people I can’t stand!” Sometimes we all feel like screaming this very same thing from the top of our voices as people make life unnecessarily tough, as if life wasn’t tough enough already. Of course, there are many things that cause difficulty in our lives but one of the main sources of difficulty is people.
People do things all the time that are offensive, hurtful, thoughtless and often times mean and nasty. Who hasn’t had a brush with a people like this? This unkind and unthoughtful behavior can come from people you do not know, people you know and even those closest to you. It’s a safe bet that you have experienced this and you will continue to experience it.
The problem is that these encounters with careless and thoughtless people leave behind a wake of emotions that you have to deal with.
For example, has someone done something that has really hurt you and you try to forget it and move on, but every time you see that person you are reminded of what they did and your irritation and anger wells up once again?
God is fully aware that Charlie Brown was right and it is people that give us the most trouble in this life. So, it is what it is. How does God want us to deal with these people who are so plentiful? How are we to maintain good relations with people who are like this?
Ephesians 4:31-32 NKJV Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
God gives you a three-step process to having good relations with other people. These steps have to do with you. So, good relations begin and end with you regardless of who you are dealing with.
God’s direction is to come to grips with the fact that hidden in the corner of your heart is more than a little irritation, anger, hostility, bitterness and even wrath that must be dealt with.
God instruction is to, “Let the offenses go.” Do not keep rehashing what has been done in your mind by talking about it to yourself or others. Let it go. When you do not let it go, the desire to “get even” grips you and your thoughts are filled with you own creative ideas on how to do it. This is malice.
The antidote to these powerful emotions is forgiveness. Forgiveness is the way to rid yourself of these internal irritations and evil thoughts. The Holy Spirit put it this way, “be kind to one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
Your path to freedom from the captivity of anger, bitterness and malice is to follow the way of Jesus and be kind to those very people who have offended you by forgiving them of their sins against you. The fact is that they may not deserve your forgiveness, but remember, you did not deserve God’s forgiveness when your sins offended (and offend) Him, either.
Do yourself a great favor and do the same for those who do not deserve your forgiveness, but show them kindness anyway, just as God did for you.
You will find that forgiveness leads to freedom!
Have a wonderful, calm and peaceful day!
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