Crossway’s Trackback Thursday – Unpacking Forgiveness

For this week’s Trackback Thursday, Crossway has yet another excellent book offering – Chris Brauns’ Unpacking Forgiveness.  Check out their blog for more details.  Here’s an excerpt:

Unpack with Great Urgency
A Short Excerpt pp 91-93

How about you? Is there something in your life that could cause someone to stumble? Maybe there is a conflict in your marriage. Perhaps you are angry with your spouse because of something that he or she did. You want to hold onto it and get back a little revenge before working things out.

But don’t you realize that continuing the conflict one more day may cause your children or friends or family to stumble? Is that a responsibility you want to have? Take radical action as soon as possible to work things out.

How about at your church? Is there a conflict there that you are holding on to? Maybe you are right, but is holding on to this conflict going to cause people to stumble? To you, Jesus says, “Don’t do it. Take decisive and drastic action to avoid that responsibility. Better to have a massive rock tied around your neck and be thrown into the heart of the sea than to be responsible for causing someone to walk away from the faith.”

Jesus continued to encourage the disciples to be urgent in the next three verses.

“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” (Matthew 18:12–14)

Would you like to be the cause of a celebration in heaven? Then urgently pursue one who has wandered away. It may be because of a bro- ken relationship. Or it might be that he or she was distracted. Whatever the case, urgently pursue those who have drifted way…

In Matthew 18:4–14 Jesus taught that we must work out differences with the greatest sense of urgency. Christians should take drastic measures to avoid causing another brother or sister to walk away from the faith. We should love one another with the same level of risk-taking urgency that we would demonstrate in the face of some great crisis. There will probably be a time when you are called to resolve a situation even though you don’t feel you can handle it perfectly. Do it. Be urgent. Those who are willing to continue conflicts even at the expense of a negative impact on others should fear for their souls.

To this whole chapter, you might object, but aren’t there some things that we cannot let go? The answer is, absolutely. The next chapter will help determine which matters can be dropped and which cannot.


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