[ecko_quote source=" Psalm 41:9 "]“Even my close friends, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” [/ecko_quote]
The spiritual journey is not the one that we are meant to walk alone. God intends us to travel in the company of other believers. It appears that for some this is a wonderful arrangement while for others, it may not seem so pleasant. People can be helpful, or hurtful; they can bless us, or harm us.
Over the years I have met a countless number of Christian people who have been hurt by other Christians. People have admitted to me that they have received more hurt from the fellowships/Churches/Cell groups than they have ever been by the world. Of course, there is some truth in it. I admit that I also have gone through some similar experiences in my Christian journey, in fact, it happened to me right after I accepted our Lord Jesus. As we see from the above Scripture, King David knew this pain, and even Jesus quoted this verse when He said, “He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me – John 13:18.
What's the solution then? The question we need to start thinking about is that how do we deal with relationships? It is because the way we deal with difficult relationships will determine whether we advance or withdraw in the Christian journey. God does not call us to live in distrust, but to live by faith in Jesus Christ. We are disciples of the One who knows what it is to be betrayed. Moreover, through His Grace/Power, we can be victors and not victims. Therefore, do not dwell on those hurts but instead move on by looking unto the Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrew 12:2). Satan always keeps our focus on the problems and people but not on the Lord Jesus. I consider this is the great trap and many people in it.
God commands us not to judge others, but He does want us to be discerning. Jesus said we would know people’s spiritual condition by the fruit of their lives (Matthew 7:16). He said,” Thorn bushes do not produce grapes”. If a person’s life produces thorns, we can assume that the person is not a grapevine! Are we judgmental? No, we are discerning. Scripture commands us to avoid associating with mockers or fools (Proverb 22:10; 17:12). Unless we can identify mockers and fools, we cannot obey God’s command. As Christians, we have been instructed to observe the lives of others so that we can help them while avoiding any sinful influence.
God is not interested in how right you are. He is interested in how obedient you are. God’s command is not that you win arguments, but that you are kind and forgiving when others mistreat you. You bring God no honour by winning a dispute, but you reflect a Christ-like character when you demonstrate patience to those who mistreat you or misunderstand your motives. Arguing may never win people to your view, but loving them just how Christ does will win you many friends over time!
Many offences could be immediately resolved by confronting the offending party and hearing their explanation. You would be surprised how many people are so immature that they do not even bother to investigate the facts or hear the other side of the story. Don't ever forget, "There are always two sides to a story," and never assume you know the entire truth of a matter until you have heard both sides.
I can guarantee that there would be far fewer misunderstandings in the body of Christ if people would be firmly devoted to love for their brethren. Love for the brethren gives us a desire to believe the best in our brother, giving him the "benefit of the doubt," instead of jumping to conclusions and always expecting the worst. The Bible says "If you love someone... you will always believe in him, always expect the best of him" (1 Cor. 13:7 TLB).
Note that the scripture says "if your brother has something against you." In other words, you might not feel that you have legitimately violated your brother or sister. However, if you are aware that "they" harbour an offence against you, you still are obligated to go and try to resolve the issue. Be willing to be humble and submissive to others, even when you do not consider yourself to be at fault. Don't be so rigid and self-righteous that you stand in the way of a brother or sister's reconciliation with you or with God (Rom. 15:1-3). Offer your humble, sincere apology for any unintentional offence and make every effort to reconcile, so that your relationship with God will not be hindered. Whether or not they pardon you, you have done your part and released your soul from blame
Source: Pastor Jonah Ravinder from blessings or blisters; Henry T Blackberry and Dr Dale A. Robbins
[ecko_quote source=" Proverbs 18:21 "]Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof [/ecko_quote]
For 6,000 years, history had been written and rewritten by the victor. Throughout the ages, as battles were fought and won, the surviving army recorded history from their viewpoint. Today we live in a different world. Our lives are recorded. Our texts and voice messages are digitally recorded and stored indefinitely. Because of the threat of terrorism against innocent people, most schools, churches, and public buildings have security cameras and recorders, inside and outside, recording every action and word.
Years ago, if you had a fit of anger and lashed out with your words, you could possibly get away with it because it was only recorded in the minds of those who've heard it. However, in the last few years of recorded history, you cannot. Times have certainly changed.
When telephone answering machines were considered as new technology, I had a friend who would talk through them. If someone made him angry, he would return their call. If they did not answer when the answering device picked up, he would let loose on them, and his message full of anger was recorded. Later, when he calmed down, he would regret what he had said. However, it was too late. The words were recorded in that answering machine.
Recently, I met a couple who was having marital problems. It all came to light when the husband accidentally left a message for his girlfriend on his wife's phone. Of course, he did not intend for his wife to hear the message, but his words were recorded whether he wanted them to be or not. He went to great lengths to keep his wife from finding the message, but he could not erase his words.
What many Christians do not understand is that their words contain power whether they are recorded or not. Because words are spirit (John 6:63), they can produce life or death. Heard or unheard, words are recorded in the realm of the spirit. The Bible tells us very clearly that death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). Thus, the words spoken from the heart by a believer can create or destroy fellowships and families. I have seen in recent times believer including Church leaders, and Pastors spoke harsh and inexcusable words with believers, and they were deeply heart and stopped coming to the fellowship. I cannot understand this, being Christians how could they speak such destructive and aching words. These words are registered forever in the hearts and minds of those who experience such ordeal. Even our forgiveness leaving the matter aside would not avail anything.
Somebody once said, "I am a good enough person to forgive you, but not stupid enough to trust you again". It's just like once lost is lost forever situation. Joel Osteen once said, "Be careful what you say, you can say something hurtful in ten seconds, but ten years later, the wounds are still there".
The Word of God states in Colossians 4:6, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt so that you may know how to answer everyone”. Let your speech be always with grace, "In grace, or concerning grace": let grace be the subject matter of your speech and conversation.
When saints meet together they should converse with each other about the work of grace upon their souls, seasoned with Salt - Salt, among the Greeks, was the emblem of wittiness. Here the meaning seems to be, that our conversation should be seasoned with piety or grace in a way similar to that in which we employ salt in our food. It makes it wholesome and palatable. So with our conversation. So it should be with our conversations. If it's not filled with the spirit of piety, it is flat, insipid, unprofitable, injurious.