Can you think of a time when you had an ongoing issue with someone in your life? And just when you thought you couldn’t take another minute with them, God asked you to stretch yourself one more time?
You just feel like, God, I have held my tongue and kept a good attitude with this person so many times, and now You want me to play the peacemaker again? This is just too much to ask!
When God is trying to build our character, He will often use other people to be “sandpaper” that smoothes down the rough edges in our personality. Even if the other person is a fellow Christian, He may not require them to do the same things He requires of you. And we can’t get away with saying, “God, it is not my turn!” because as soon as we do, He’ll remind us of His Word.
God’s Word Always Trumps Our Excuses
In Matthew 18:21-22, Peter asked Jesus how many times he had to forgive someone who sinned against him. I’m sure he thought he was being generous when he said, “Up to seven times?” But Jesus rebuked Peter saying, “Not seven times, but seventy times seven.”
Jesus was making a point that no matter how much people mistreat us, we really shouldn’t use that as an excuse to sin against them.
You and I may not like the sound of that, but there’s something else we need to consider: Where there’s unity, the Lord commands a blessing (see Psalm 133).
In other words, no matter what someone tries to take away from you or how unjust their actions may be, if you will do all you can to stay out of strife, God will bless you.
He Never Overlooks Our Obedience
Another place I like to go for encouragement in this area is Genesis 13: the story of Abram and Lot.
Let’s first look at verses 8 and 9 (AMP). “Abram said to Lot, Let there be no strife, I beg of you, between you and me, or between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself, I beg of you, from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you choose the right hand, then I will go to the left.”
Now, because of Abram’s willingness to keep peace in the family, God blessed him.
Take a look at verses 14-17. “The Lord said to Abram…Lift up now your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see I will give to you and to your posterity forever. And I will make your descendants like the dust of the earth, so that if a man could count the dust of the earth, then could your descendants also be counted. Arise, walk through the land, the length of it and the breadth of it, for I will give it to you.”
After that, I bet Abram thought it was worth it to let Lot get his way.
I encourage you to apply this lesson to your own life. Maybe somebody’s done you wrong, they’ve taken something from you and left you with nothing. God’s got a word for you today. Stop looking back. Stop internalizing everything. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
Love Gives Up the Right to Be Right
Romans 12:16 (AMP) says, “Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty (snobbish, high-minded, exclusive), but readily adjust yourself to [people, things] and give yourselves to humble tasks. Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits.”
God’s faithful and He’ll keep His promises, but you have to live in faith, doing what you can, by His grace, to get along with people.
Get your marriage sorted out. Get your friendships sorted out. Get things sorted out at work. I guarantee that you will get more out of it than you ever put into it yourself.