"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15
Tag Archives: hate
April 8, 2010Posted by on
Have you ever heard that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission? That may be true in some circumstances, but that doesn’t mean that asking for forgiveness is an easy thing to do. It can be very hard to apologize sometimes – especially when you don’t think you’re the one who’s most in the wrong!
Surprisingly, the Bible doesn’t seem to say a whole lot about apologizing, at least not on the surface! You won’t be very successful in trying to do a word search for apologize in the Bible, but that doesn’t mean that the concept is missing in God’s word… Let’s look at a couple of places where the Bible addresses this from a different angle.
Jesus spoke about asking for forgiveness in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:21-26 Jesus talks about what we are to do when someone is angry with us… He says to “reconcile” with them right away. Notice in the passage that Jesus didn’t say who was at fault… He just started off saying that it was bad to be angry at someone and call them a fool… Then He said that if you remember that someone may be angry at you, go make it right! In context this tells us that we need to do what it takes to make things right with this person (including asking for forgiveness) not for our sake, but really for their sake!
I can imagine some of you scratching your heads on that. Let me explain. Jesus said that it was dangerous for Christians to hold on to anger at someone. He then told us to go reconcile with people who are angry at us. So, what He’s saying is to love others enough to do what you need to do in order to help remove that bad blood between you.
One way to diffuse a situation is to admit your portion of the wrong and ask for forgiveness… Not just say “I’m sorry if I offended you”, but instead say, “I was wrong when I _______________. Will you please forgive me?”
I know that it seems like splitting hairs, but saying “I’m sorry” usually doesn’t move the heart of the one we’ve offended, but taking responsibility by saying “I was wrong” often does.
I am convinced that this is at least partially what James 5:16 is telling us to do when it says, “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Taking responsibility for where we were wrong in a situation (even when the other person may have been MORE in the wrong) brings healing to a relationship… This is for the betterment of everyone involved.
What else is difficult about apologizing? It requires a HUGE amount of humility. What do we naturally want to do when someone is angry with us? Defend ourselves, of course. Especially if and when we think the other person is more in the wrong than we are… Really though, in the greater scheme of things, that doesn’t matter – The fact of the matter is that it always takes two or more people to make an argument and almost always the fault for the argument is at least partially shared. You may not have the greatest majority of the blame, but was there anything you did that contributed to the argument? Probably… So ask for forgiveness for your part without pointing out the obvious (the other person’s part) – take responsibility for taking the first step toward healing in the relationship. I think this is what God was getting at when He inspired Peter to write:
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:8-12, ESV)
God’s saying that if we want to have a good life here on earth we need to do our best to live in harmony with others. We are to bless others – one way to do that is to diffuse their anger. But that’s not our natural reaction… Normally, when someone is upset with us we want to defend ourselves and fight back. But I Peter is saying that is absolutely the wrong course of action! Defending ourselves and our pride is counterproductive to what ought to be our primary concern: the greater good of all involved (including ourselves) – and that only comes through restoration! Consider the following related verses:
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11, ESV)
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21, ESV)
Scripture may not speak specifically and directly about apologizing or how to apologize, but it does have a great deal to say about humility and forgiveness. Perhaps this is because forgiving is even harder! Regardless, I think that the passages above speak to all of this.
Because there is so much to say about forgiveness, we will deal with it more extensively in another post – too much to cover here without short changing apologies. What does need to be said about forgiveness here is: “when someone asks for forgiveness, give it – period.”
What else needs to be said about forgiveness is that as difficult as it is to give, it is super hard for true forgiveness to happen without something initiating the process – 99.99999% of the time that something is a sincere apology.
So, let me challenge you today… give asking for forgiveness a shot, it may save a relationship or two.
March 26, 2010Posted by on
God created everything. This would include Satan. Looking at the timeline presented in the Bible we know that Satan and his bunch of rebels were kicked out of Heaven before the creation of Adam and Eve. Satan was the best and brightest of the angels. But he had a flaw. He wanted to be like God – Really, he wanted to BE God. This naturally caused a rift between God and Satan, and of course God wins. With Satan, 1/3 of the angels departed from heaven (we know them now as demons). If we know that Satan fought against God because he wanted to be like God, we can draw some conclusions.
1. Satan is not God thus,
2. Satan is not Omnipotent (All Powerful) and,
3. Omniscient (All Knowing) and,
4. Satan is not Omnipresent (Everywhere at once).
These four simple points cover a lot of area. Because Satan is not God, he cannot know everything that is or will be, and he cannot be with us all of the time and He can (and will be) defeated!
All of these points are critical to gain understanding of our common opponent. Satan is an aggressive opponent, and knows how to attack people. This statement implies a level of omniscience. However, we have already established that he is not omniscient. So how does he know? I believe Satan is an excellent observer of human behavior. Let’s be honest – he has had thousands of years of observations to draw from.
Observation is a highly effective strategy that is often used in business, sports and war. People are taught to watch for cues that indicate what people are thinking, how they might respond, when to press, and when to lay back and let it ride. Anyone’s personal experience is limited to maybe 20 to 30 years of active observation. Satan, though, has all the years going back to Adam and Eve to draw from. This gives me reason to believe that while Satan is not omniscient he certainly can provide a very educated guess as to how you will respond to temptation.
While we are all created uniquely, we all are prone to various kinds of temptations which are not unique. Our mistakes are not the first of their kind in human history. This is Satan’s tactical advantage over us. He knows that while we are unique in our creation, our response to temptation is not. After thousands of years of observation of personality types, and responses, he knows how to trip a trigger and crawl into your life. There is hope, though… See 1 Corinthians 10:13 While Satan has millennia of experience tripping people up, God, though the Holy Spirit, has been equally practiced at helping God’s people deal with sin… More on this later.
Everyone has their pressure points. Do you believe that it is a coincidence that the same issues appear over and over in your own life? I never thought about it until recently. Then it finally dawned on me: Satan is real, Satan is clever and Satan is a very astute observer.
The attacks can be sudden, and from out of nowhere. There can be long pauses between attacks (demonstrating Satan’s lack of omnipresence). Rest assured, if you are making an impact for God, if you are beginning to grow in your faith, or beginning in your path towards the truth, you will attract his attention and his ire. This is where understanding your opponent’s tactics will really help you.
Satan deals in half truths. He wants to present you an option that appears to be in the nature of the Bible and God’s word. This is the trick of Satan. 2 Corinthians 11:14 says that Satan masquerades as an angel of light. Here is an example. If you are beginning to grow in your faith, then it is fair to say that you are trying to rid yourself of some bad habits. Stress is a fantastic way to push people back to a default habit or personality trait. Apply a little stress, and the normal person will revert. Let me use examples out of my own life. Things like success are a difficult temptation for me because, while I have my moments, I am not a humble guy. Another example for me is fear of betrayal. Satan knows my weaknesses, and knows what I need to see in order to feed my arrogance and paranoia. But this is not limited just to me! Satan’s desire is for you to revert. God’s desire is for you to succeed by becoming more like His Son – See Ephesians 5:1-2.
Look at these startling statistics. The Bible mentions Satan over 180 times, Jesus mentions him 100+ times. Despite that, 60% of believers believe that Satan isn’t a real living being, but rather a symbol of evil. The greatest achievement of Satan is to have convinced the world that he doesn’t exist. Not only has he convinced the world but also believers.
If you are a believer let me boil it down a little more strongly…You are willing to have faith that Christ was born of a virgin, Christ is the son of God, Christ lived without sin, Christ died on the cross for your sin’s, Christ was resurrected, and God created angels, …Do you really think it is so farfetched to believe that Satan is real?!
Next time, we will look at specific strategies for defeating this very real and active enemy, but as a preview you may want to take a look at the following passages: James 4:4-7; Ephesians 6:10-18 & Romans 6:6-13.