IF Someone has something against You!

Question: As a Christian, am I required to go to everyone who does something against me and try to settle it? There have been times that it did not work.

Answer: First, let us look at the scripture regarding, “someone having ought” with you.

"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV)

I want to share something that God has shown me about this scripture. It is something that is not taught often, if at all. Be careful how you apply this scripture. The word brother is applied as, a fellow believer, united to another by the bond of affection; Christians, as those who are exalted to the same heavenly place. Jesus did not say “neighbor” here, He said “brother”! If the intentions of someone’s heart are not that of a true believer, you cannot have restoration. You cannot have restoration with someone whose heart is not after God. You cannot go and make peace with someone if they do not want to be made peace with. When Jesus said, go to your brother, He meant just exactly that, a brother. Someone who’s life is based on truly Christ-like principles and pure heart intentions. Get your instructions from God!

We can get ourselves in trouble by not getting before God. We can act to quickly and it causes more problems and more damage just saying, “Oh, the written Word says, “if my brother has ought with me, I have to go to him.” God did not intend for that to be the case. Get your instruction. Be incredibly careful how you apply the word, “brother” to someone who is not our brother. We can get terribly wounded and hurt when it is not necessary. Let us kick it up a notch. Jesus meant your brother in Christ, who is on the same path with the same focus, with the same heart intentions. You cannot do it any other way! We tend to take things to generally when God is being extremely specific, to protect us in some way. Are we to forgive everyone? Absolutely! But, be careful how you handle the rest of it! You can get yourself into a world of hurt when God wants the situation handled differently.

Question: If someone made a mistake at some point in their life, in other words, they did something they should not have done. If they went to God and set things straight with Him and they’ve been forgiven for it, does anyone have the right to come to that person and say, “I forgive you for such and such”? Do they have the right to bring it up to and remind them of their sin?

Answer: There are several angles to approach this. But, first let us clarify something. I have seen it taught in churches, to just go to the person you are holding un-forgiveness to and get it cleared up. In fact, I’ve been in church services where the pastor has instructed people to go to the person that you are holding un-forgiveness to and clear it up “now”, right in the middle of the church service. It is dangerous, not getting with God, praying, and asking for instruction, first! This is a serious inroad for Satan to get things going. In churches, yes in churches, people are watching other people. The person who “is gone to” is being singled out, indicating that they did something wrong to another person. This is a declaration of guilt or a wrongdoing on their part. Shame can be brought on that person, right there in church. First, they may not even be aware that they did something. It could have been a sin of omission, as it is called. Even if it was not, is this not making an open display of that person? Its finger pointing. These moments should be held in private, under God’s specific instruction. As we looked at the story of David, when the prophet Nathan went to David, I see nowhere in the written Word that anyone was there, listening!

Rule#1: If a person knows that someone is holding guilt or condemnation because of something they did to them, then it is one thing to go and say to them, “I have forgiven you, so can we just forget about it and let God deal with us from this point.” It is one thing if that is the true heart intention. This is a private matter.

There are cases that someone’s heart intention is, “I’m doing a good thing, I’m forgiving that person. Aren’t I wonderful?”

Rule #2: If someone had done something to someone else a long time ago, they had been forgiven for it and they are walking in that forgiveness and the person who feels they had been wronged because of their actions then chooses to go to that person and dump it at their feet, that’s wrong! The person who is doing the dumping, needs to be looking at their self. They should have dealt with their un-forgiveness a long time ago, with God. If they have carried un-forgiveness for an extended period, that is their problem! It is not the person’s problem who wronged them. They need to get with God and ask for forgiveness.

Going to someone and saying, “you did this, and you did this, and I forgive you, but you did this and this and this too”, but I am working through it. Satan can get an inroad right here! In bringing up something that God has thrown as far as the east is from the west, it can bring condemnation back into the picture. Guilt can be revisited for that person. Shame can come back in the door. Satan can get a foot hold! If handled in this manner, reconciliation does not always come, but separation can! If a situation is handled in this manner, it would not be God!

You see, when we ask God for forgiveness and God forgives our sins, He puts them as far as the east is from the west “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (NIV) Psalm 103:12

If God has done this for us, what right to we must bring others sins up to them (unless it for the purpose of the relief of shame and guilt)? As with Joseph, he quickly attempted to relieve his brother’s shame and guilt. He did not start to rehash what had happened. What good does it do?

Question: If I forgive somebody and they keep doing the same thing over and over to me again and again and again, and I know that I’m supposed to forgive them again, how do I forget about it when it keeps happening over and over? Can I get rid of the memories?

Answer: When someone is choosing not to change, we could be put into a very tough situation. First, we must continue to forgive. Can we forget what someone does to us? Yes, we can, but it takes a continual wanting to on our part. We can forgive and forget, but we must want to! We may have to go through the “Steps of Forgiveness” forty times a day and if it takes that, then we must do it. But we can do it. With all the people that hated Jesus did not He have to forgive others daily? Of course, He did! I am sure that He asked the Father to erase the memories from His mind too. That is what we must do to. We must want to give them up, therefore we must give God permission to erase them. He will not just do it. We must give Him permission. We must make that choice.

If you are in a very abusive relationship, make sure that you are in contact with God about whether you should stay in that relationship. If Satan is using someone to constantly bombard you, God may not want you to stay in that relationship. Make sure, if you leave, that God has told you to. Make sure that God directs you every step of the way. That is for your own protection. Do not act without clear direction. Clearly in most cases, in a husband/wife situation, if either one of the spouses is clearly walking in obedience and listening to God’s direction and following through. Things will be worked out.

If you have someone in your life that you call friend and they are abusive to you over and over in whatever way, God could very well tell you to forgive them and walk away from the relationship. If He were to do that, do not be surprised. He has told that to many a Christian, because He does not want you to be “friends” with that certain person, for some reason or another. Remember, He knows best. You can forgive someone and not be their “friend” anymore.