Day 2: Peace Out! (Seeking Peace with Others)
There is one more reason we don't experience peace, and that is because we have not made peace with others.
Like it or not, we are going to have conflict with other people. People will hurt you intentionally or unintentionally. The question is: what are you going to do with that hurt? You can hold onto that hurt and let it fester in your soul until you become a bitter and resentful person, or you can let go of the hurt and forgive and move on with peace in your life.
The Bible says in Colossians 3:13, "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."
We are to be peacemakers. We are to be the one who takes the initiative in making things right with others. There is a price that we pay ourselves when we don't forgive. Unforgiveness will hinder our prayers. Mark 11:25 says, "And when you stand praying if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."
God doesn't like it when we don't extend the same forgiveness to others that He has extended to us. Out of the abundance of all that we have been forgiven for, we are to forgive those who have wounded us as well.
Unforgiveness will ruin our relationships. We will start to become shorter with others and less trusting. We carry the baggage of our bitterness into other relationships, ruining them before they even begin.
Unforgiveness will steal our peace. We become the prisoner. The other person has probably moved on, but we stay locked up in a cell, unable to move forward with our life.
Elizabeth Morris was somebody who learned the power of forgiveness. Seventeen years ago, two days before Christmas, she was sitting at home. At 10:40 p.m., the phone rang. It was one of those phone calls that every parent dreads. She answered the phone to learn that her eighteen-year-old son, who had just completed his first semester of college, had been in a tragic accident on the way home from the mall. She needed to come to the hospital. Turns out, a drunk driver, a twenty-four-year-old named Tommy Piget, had crossed the line and hit her son head-on in the car. Yet Tommy walked away with no substantial injuries.
Ted Morris, her eighteen-year-old son, died that night. He was their only son. They were totally devastated. To make it worse, a few months later, Tommy got out on probation through a loophole. He's walking the streets again. Elizabeth said she would begin to visualize the accident over and over. Then she would visualize finding Tommy walking around; she would hit him with her car and drive him into a tree or into a wall and watch him die. She said it ran in her head like a videotape again and again. She followed him around because she might be able to catch him breaking his probation. Then he would go back to prison. She let it envelop her whole life. It drove a wedge between her and her husband and other family members.
Finally, it got to a place where she realized it was going to kill her if she didn't deal with it. You know what helped her deal with it? She realized one day that God knew what it was like to lose a son.
She was able to turn a corner because of that. She and her husband began corresponding with Tommy. They began to build a relationship with him. Believe it or not, they actually lead him into a relationship with Jesus Christ. They even baptized him themselves—the man who took the life of their only son.
Two years after that, Tommy fell in love. Frank Morris, Elizabeth's husband, was a part-time minister. When it came time for the wedding, Tommy knew there was only one person who could do that ceremony. He went to the dad of the young man that he killed as a drunk driver.
He asked, "Will you marry us?" Frank said he'd be delighted to. Every Sunday, they actually ride together to church. They realized that unforgiveness could either destroy their lives completely or, through the grace and power of God, they could begin to recapture some semblance of a life. What they lost in one relationship, they gained in one that took the life of their son. They discovered the power of forgiveness.
Do you have peace with others, or is there a war raging? It's time to let it go. Who do you need to make a phone call to? Who do you need to set up an appointment with and have a conversation with? Who do you need to go to and just say, "I'm sorry. I blew it. Will you forgive me?" Let's come to peace today.
1. In what other ways will unforgiveness do damage to a person?
2. Are you holding onto some hurt in your life?
3. What are you going to do with that hurt?
4. Write down five things that God has forgiven you for.
I bet that didn't take much time at all, did it? Why is that? It is because God constantly forgives us day after day. Now, as people who represent God, He wants us to do the same thing for others. You will never have peace until you have made peace with God and peace with others. What do you need to do today?
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