photo credit: Skakerman via photopin cc

photo credit: Skakerman via photopin cc

Interpersonal conflict is part of life. It would be nice if everyone got along all the time, but we don’t live in a world where this happens. Relational drama seems to follow us wherever we go, invading even the things that should be a distraction for us. Think about your social media timelines. How many of the posts have something to do with people and their relational difficulties and inability to get along? At least once a day I see a post that reads something like this, “I learned my lesson today about trusting people. I do my best to help them and they just stab me in the back. Well I may forgive, but I don’t forget and this won’t happen again.” Sound familiar?

The constant bickering and relationship strife we see serves as a stark reminder that the Bible’s words are true. The Bible roots our relational difficulties in our sin and separation from God. Genesis 3 records the first instance of human sin again God. Adam and Eve ate from the tree even though God told them not to eat from it. Through this one act of disobedience sin entered into the world. This action’s consequences begin to play out in the next chapter. Adam and Eve’s sons Cain and Abel went to offer a sacrifice to God. God expressed his pleasure with Abel’s sacrifice, but he was not pleased with Cain’s. The Lord addressed Cain and his fallen countenance, reminding him that sin is crouching at his door. He did not heed God’s warning, but instead invited Abel out to the field with him where he murdered him.

The pairing of these two events cannot be coincidental. They show not only the relational separation between people and God, but also between people and each other. Every conflict we have with another person is both a result of the existence of sin in the world and because of our own personal sin. The book of James speaks in particular about our desires that cause conflicts between us and others. Our wanting to get our own way, our desire to be first among the people around us, and our desire for revenge when we are wronged all caused what James calls “quarrels and fights.”

How the Greatest Separation Was Bridged
However high it may seem the sins of others may stack up against us, our sin against God is far greater and higher. We have offended him by sinning against him and we rightly stand worthy of His judgment. Thankfully the story did not end with our sin against God. Paul says in Romans that while we were sinners, Jesus Christ died for us. This reminds us that God sent His own Son to pay the debt we owed to Him. He stepped in as our substitute so we might no longer live under sin’s curse.

The Bible speaks of our salvation as a reconciliation to God. The one who has faith in Christ has his sin covered and receives the perfect righteousness of Christ. Through faith in Christ we are reconciled to God. We were once at enmity with him, but now we have been brought back to him. We have peace with God through Jesus and now we know him. We do not stand at arms length, but he invites us in. We have an audience with him, he hears us, and he is for us. When we come to Christ, God is not longer our enemy, he is our friend.

How This Affects Our Other Relationships
If our separation from other people mirrors our separation from God, then doesn’t it follow that our reconciliation to God can point a way forward to reconciliation with others? For the person who is a Christian, all of life should be lived in light of what God has done for us in Christ and in light of who he is for us in Christ. If God has provided redemption for our sins and forgiven us all of our trespasses, then that truth should begin to filter down into the way we think about our broken relationships with other people.

Take the issue of forgiveness for example. So many of our broken relationships come from holding grudges over past wrongs. Forgiveness does not mean that these experiences were not painful or that the other person was not wrong in what they did. It does mean we will let go of our anger and bitterness towards them, no longer holding their sin against them. If another person wrongs you, remember the forgiveness God has extended towards you and offer that same forgiveness to others as well. You may wonder what to do if the person will not admit they have done anything wrong. Forgive them anyway. If they don’t admit their wrongdoing it may mean the relationship cannot be mended, but it will not be because you continue to hold a grudge. If they do admit their wrongdoing, forgive them and you have regained a friend.

We should write over our lives the words of Paul in Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” We cannot control how other people respond to us, but we can, because of the Gospel, let go of our anger and hostility towards them.

Related Posts:
Learning to Watch Our Words
A Bible Verse That Changes All of Our Relationships

For Further Reading:
Forgiveness by John MacArthurThe Cross of Christ by John Stott

Planning to Pray

July 22, 2014 — Leave a comment

praying-hands-blackwhiteThere have been many times in my Christian life when I struggled with my prayer life. Sometimes this happened because my prayer life began to feel stale, but the other times this happened because of a very different problem. Instead of working at my prayer life, I was drifting through my prayer life. D.A. Carson addresses this issue in our prayer lives in his book A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers. In doing so, he shows why we should put a greater emphasis on planning our prayer lives.

We do not drift into spiritual life; we do not drift into disciplined prayer. We will not grow in prayer unless we plan to pray. That means we must self-consciously set aside time to do nothing but pray.

What we actually do reflects our highest priorities. That means we can proclaim our commitment to prayer until the cows come home, but unless we actually pray, our actions disown our words.

This is the fundamental reason why set times for prayer are important: they ensure that vague desires for prayer are concretized in regular practice. Paul’s many references to his “prayers” (e.g., Rom. 1:10; Eph. 1:16; 1 Thess. 1:2) suggest that he set aside specific times for prayer—as apparently Jesus himself did (Luke 5:16). Of course, mere regularity in such matters does not ensure that effective praying takes place: genuine godliness is so easily aped, its place usurped by its barren cousin, formal religion. It is also true that different lifestyles demand different patterns: a shift worker, for instance, will have to keep changing the scheduled prayer times, while a mother of twin two-year-olds will enjoy neither the energy nor the leisure of someone living in less constrained circumstances. But after all the difficulties have been duly recognized and all the dangers of legalism properly acknowledged, the fact remains that unless we plan to pray we will not pray. The reason we pray so little is that we do not plan to pray. Wise planning will ensure that we devote ourselves to prayer often, even if for brief periods: it is better to pray often with brevity than rarely but at length. But the worst option is simply not to pray—and that will be the controlling pattern unless we plan to pray. If we intend to change our habits, we must start here.

Related Posts:
Another Big Mistake Young Preachers Make

For Further Reading:
A Praying Life by Paul Miller

photo credit: j / f / photos via photopin cc

photo credit: j / f / photos via photopin cc

How much damage do we do to other people with our words? We leave a scorched earth with our careless words as they cause mountains of hurt. Unfortunately we think we can excuse ourselves because “we didn’t mean for it to come across that way.” That’s the problem though isn’t it? The hurtful, careless words that come out of our mouths say more about who we are than the words we speak with intentionality. This is why Jesus says “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.” Since we will stand before the King and answer for every careless word, how do we cultivate speaking words that build up and encourage rather than destroy and tear down.

Pay Attention to Your Heart
Jesus said, “the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.” Since our words reflect what is in our hearts, we should cultivate hearts that produce healthy and helpful words. This begins with prayerful meditation on God’s word. Read a portion of the Bible everyday, giving attention to thinking about it and praying through it. Thank God for what you read in the passage. Understand who this passage teaches that you are in Christ. Ask God for the strength to live out what He calls you to in the passage. Do this everyday and over time it will produce a real change in your heart.

Repent Quickly
Often we say things we shouldn’t say and defend ourselves instead of repenting. Our pride often will not allow us to simply admit we were wrong. Instead, be quick to admit when you are wrong. Repent to the Lord, honestly confessing your sin before Him. Then go to the person you have offended and ask them to forgive you. I’m not talking about telling them you are sorry that they got their feelings hurt. No, honestly admit your failure to love them well and the wrongness of speaking carelessly. Then ask them these words, “will you forgive me?” Paul says in Romans 12 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” You cannot control whether another person forgives you or not, but you can do your part to right the relationship.

Weigh Your Words
The last thing to do might be the most difficult. The Bible speaks frequently of being “slow to speak.” This imperative calls us to think about what we are going to say before it comes out of our mouths. This runs counter to everything was are accustomed to, but wisdom demands this. Imagine how our words could be used as a positive force to help people if we thought before we spoke. Think about the hurt you could avoid by simply weighing the words you speak before you speak them.

Related Posts:
A Bible Verse that Changes All of our Relationships

For Further Reading:
Resisting Gossip by Matthew Mitchell

Titus for You

July 7, 2014 — 1 Comment

titusTim Chester’s recent books Total Church, A Meal with Jesus, and Everyday Church have heavily impacted my view on the church. Each of these deal with the internal life of the church and how the church does mission. Naturally I was excited to see Titus for You. This series works through books of the Bible both explaining the Biblical context and applying it to the life of the church. It does so in a way that is accessible to any Christian regardless of the amount of training they have in biblical studies. The best classification for this books would be an expositional commentary, as it reads like a sermon with added detail.

For each section Chester works systematically through the biblical text. In doing so he helps the reader understand what the text is saying. He keeps an eye not just on the details of the text, but on the big picture of the entire book of Titus. Then he reflects on the text, offering both theological and practical insights.

Chester’s focus throughout the book is the role of the Gospel in the life of the church. Take for example the section on 2:11-15. His starting point is demonstrating how telling Christians to do better and try harder is not good news or transformative news. Then he unpacks the message of the passage and shows how it is the ground of the exhortations in 2:1-10. The message Chester share here is greatly needed in the contemporary church environment. So much of what is preached in our churches currently is three steps to be better at different areas of our lives. It may sound like good advise, but it is actually a new law that cannot change our hearts. What Chester so helpfully demonstrates is how the Gospel transforms us inwardly so we desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus.

It was also helpful to read Chester on the qualifications for elders in chapter 1. He boils the qualifications down to being blameless in three areas- home, life, and doctrine. While he gives equal space to each one, his remarks on the elder in the home were particularly appropriate. God’s people are a family and they must be led by men who walk in godliness in their own home. They cannot be men who live in perpetual adolescence, but by godly men who care for their wives and children well. Chester states this most strongly when he says, “the most important reference for a church leader is his home life.”

While Chester’s work is not exhaustive, it is helpful for anyone attempting to understand the message of Paul’s letter to Titus. I highly recommend this for any Christian desiring to give this letter a more detailed hearing.

(I received a copy of this work through the Cross Focused Review program in exchange for an honest review.)

You can read all of my book reviews and notes here.

blackmailI’ve seen several people post this quote from John Piper over the last several days. The quote comes from a discussion about a book on A.W. Tozer. (You can read the quote in its original context here and with some added commentary by Ray Ortlund here.)

This resonated with me because I have seen how we believe in the infallibility of a person who acts offended. If a person says they are offended, they must be right. This simply isn’t the case and we must begin to recognize the way that claiming offense has become a way for people to blackmail others into getting what they want. We need to hear and heed John Piper’s words on this issue.

“But I have seen so much emotional blackmail in my ministry I am jealous to raise a warning against it.  Emotional blackmail happens when a person equates his or her emotional pain with another person’s failure to love.  They aren’t the same.  A person may love well and the beloved still feel hurt, and use the hurt to blackmail the lover into admitting guilt he or she does not have.  Emotional blackmail says, ‘If I feel hurt by you, you are guilty.’  There is no defense.  The hurt person has become God.  His emotion has become judge and jury.  Truth does not matter.   All that matters is the sovereign suffering of the aggrieved.  It is above question. (Italics added)  This emotional device is a great evil.  I have seen it often in my three decades of ministry and I am eager to defend people who are being wrongly indicted by it.”

Westminster Chapel

Westminster Chapel

Last night messengers at the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Baltimore gathered to pray for revival. They prayed God would move in our churches and in our nation so that we might see Christians filled with God’s power and more people come to Christ. Influential Atlanta pastor Andy Stanley tweeted a string of observations that caused a stir. He argued that we shouldn’t pray for revival, instead working harder to do what we already know to do and praying for the boldness to do it.

This reinforces the prevalent idea among many churches that reaching people is simply of matter of doing the right things so we will produce the right results. While this does recognize that God has ordained means to accomplish His purposes, it ignores the truth that God supplies the power to do what He has called us to do. I am afraid we are advocating a view of church that could continue even if God did not exist.

Martyn-Lloyd Jones, the influential Pastor of Westminter Chapel in London from the 1940s to the 1960s, wrote and preached extensively about our need for revival. The following quotes about revival from Dr. Lloyd-Jones show the necessity of praying for revival and the foolishness of relying on our methods and ingenuity.

“If you and I are not praying for revival there is only one explanation. It is that we do not realise the nature of the problem confronting us. We think that we can still do it by means of organisations or other activities, but once we see what man really is in sin, we know that nothing short of the power of God can possibly deal with him.”

“We can produce a number of converts, thank God for that, and that goes on regularly in evangelical churches every Sunday. But the need today is much too great for that. The need today is for an authentication of God, of the supernatural, of the spiritual, of the eternal, and this can only be answered by God graciously hearing our cry and shedding forth again his Spirit upon us and filling us as he kept filling the early church.
What is needed is some mighty demonstration of the power of God, some enactment of the Almighty, that will compel people to pay attention, and to look, and to listen. And the history of all the revivals of the past indicates so clearly that that is invariably the effect of revival, without any exception at all. That is why I am calling attention to revival. That is why I am urging you to pray for this. When God acts, he can do more in a minute than man with his organizing can do in fifty years .”

“Pray for revival? Yes, go on, but do not try to create it, do not attempt to produce it; it is only given by Christ himself. The last church to be visited by a revival is the church trying to make it.”

For Further Reading:
Revival by Martyn Lloyd-Jones

indexThere was a time in my life when I hated to read. My best guess is that I finished five of the many books I was assigned in school. Things turned a corner for me when I became a Christian and started reading the Bible. People started recommending books for me to read and I found these books were challenging the way I read the Bible. Now as a Pastor, I find that reading non-fiction books keeps me sharp intellectually and that reading good fiction keeps me sharp creatively.

Sometimes I will hear people ask how they can “find” more time to read. Unfortunately we live under the assumption that there is extra time out there we can discover like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. For example, I frequently tell myself I don’t have time to go to the gym, but I’m kidding myself. If getting to the gym were important, I would find a way to prioritize it. The same is true with reading. If growing spiritually and intellectually is important to us, we’ll make the necessary time to put in the work.

Over a decade ago I read John Piper’s Brothers We Are Not Professionals. While I benefited from the entire book, the chapter on reading good books provided a framework for reading that has continued to help me ten years later. Piper advises the following framework for reading, which he quotes from John Stott.

Many will achieve more. But the minimum would amount to this: every day at least one hour; every week one morning, afternoon or evening; every month a full day; every year a week. Set out like this, it sounds very little. Indeed, it is too little. Yet everybody who tries it is surprised to discover how much reading can be done within such a disciplined framework. It tots up to nearly six hundred hours in the course of a year.

Another piece of advice that has helped me organize my reading came from Al Mohler’s “Some Thoughts on the Reading of Books.” He suggests having reading projects across several disciplines. This was good for me because I tend to only read on theology and church life, often ignoring history and good fiction. (I keep saying “good” fiction because there is a lot of terribly written fiction floating around.) This challenged me to start reading fiction and to a purpose behind the fiction I am reading. Lately I’ve been working through Wendell Berry’s Port Williams novels. They have challenged my thinking on community and pace of life while also giving me rich sermon illustration material.

What are some reading tips that have helped you read more and better books?

A Few Good Reads

June 6, 2014 — Leave a comment
photo credit: solidether via photopin cc

photo credit: solidether via photopin cc

My wife is not the same person I married
Matt Walsh writes about being committed to marriage for the long haul in a culture where divorce is not treated as an evil anymore. “This is what we do in our culture. Not just with divorce, but with so many other brands of bad decisions. We first justify them, then we advertise and sell them, then we celebrate them, then we insist that everyone else celebrate along with us. In the case of divorce, it is now a literal celebration. With balloons and invitations and cake.”

Stop helicopter-parenting other people’s kids
You’ve heard of helicopter parenting where parents hover relentlessly over their children. Brendon Dougherty writes about a new phenomenon where random bystanders helicopter other people’s children, sometimes calling the police on their parents because their children are playing in the front yard unsupervised. “We’re rapidly approaching the point in which it’s not enough for helicopter parents to micromanage their own kids — they have to manage other parents’ kids as well. But in the latter case, they do it by strafing their peers with legal threats and putting them in the big “time-out” in a local jail.”

When Our Sons Ask for Stones, Let’s Give Them Bread
Another big story has come out in the last few weeks about the church and sexuality. This time it is the Pastor of a Southern Baptist Church in California who changed his mind about the traditional view of sexuality and decided to affirm same-sex relationships. When he told his son about his change of mind, his son responded by telling him that he was gay. The Pastor saw this as a providential affirmation of his changed views. Jared Wilson reflects on our propensity to honor our family’s choices above God and His glory. “This is a good word to all of us familyolaters. We take what most of us consider the most important thing in our lives and give it the weight of our worship in a way that is both dishonorable and unsustainable. And we end up living ‘Thus saith the family’ rather than ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ I know personally what happens when one worships his wife: he harms her. I know what happens when we make our children the center of our universe: we harm them. That is true hatred. Trading in the cross for the thin gruel of temporary satisfaction, appetites, compulsions, is the worst thing you could do to somebody. And when it comes down to seeking one’s happiness over their holiness, we aid and abet the theft of their eternal joy. This is what Danny Cortez and Brian McLaren have done.”

To the Ends of the Earth: Calvin’s Missional Vision and Legacy
John Calvin remains a controversial figure in the history of the church. For centuries people have argued that Calvin’s view of salvation hinders missionary impulse. Michael Haykin and Jeff Robinson present from Calvin’s own writings his view of missions, evangelism, and church planting. This is from Jason Allen’s blurb on the book. “Does a belief in sovereign grace stymie missions and evangelism? If that belief is rightly understood and rightly applied, the answer is an emphatic no. Haykin and Robinson skillfully present John Calvin’s evangelistic zeal and channel it toward a new generation of Great Commission minded pastors, teachers, and evangelists. I’m grateful for these men and this book, and pray that God will use it for the greater advance of the gospel and a greater harvest of souls.”

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

When difficult times hit, my first instinct is not to think about the goodness of God and to rest in Him. Unfortunately panic mode often sets in before I think through the truths that will give peace to my soul. The struggle for me in this throughout the years has been to remember the wise words of Martyn Lloyd-Jones in his book Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cures. “Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them but they are talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this: instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says, “Self, listen for moment, I will speak to you.”

Lloyd-Jones offers sound wisdom here. We listen to ourselves as our fears, doubts, and worries shout at us. A genuine change in perspective begins to happen though when we begin to talk to ourselves and remind ourselves of the truth. Our circumstances may be difficult, even insurmountable, but we have good news to preach to ourselves that will change the way we respond to difficult circumstances.

The passage I most often go to in tough times is Romans 8:28-39. Paul shares four truths in this passage that serve as an encouragement to me when times are tough.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.  

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God Works Things for My Good
This passage begins with the declaration that God works all things together for the good of His people. Paul reminds us that nothing enters into our lives to bring us ultimate harm. While God may bring difficult things into our lives, He is at work through them for our ultimate good. We do well to remember this passage does not teach that everything will always be good, but that God is working for good. Too often we hear this and think it means God is preparing us to receive “bigger and better” things, but that is not Paul’s point. Our view of “bigger and better” is too shallow and too centered on receiving great material blessings and success. God may actually strip these things from us, but it will be for a far greater purpose.

God Wants Me to be More Like Jesus
Verses 29-30 contain what many have called the “Golden Chain of Salvation,” showing that God planned our salvation before we were born and will be faithful to bring us to the end.  In the second link of the chain, Paul says those whom God “foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.” While our ultimate transformation into the image of Christ does not happen until His return, God transforms us into the image of Christ in our character each day. The person who trusts in Jesus will become more like Jesus and this process is difficult and necessary. The tough times we go through are meant to make us more like Him. They drive away our worldliness and sin, and grow us in Christlike character.

God Sent His Son to Die for Me
The declaration in verse 32, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?,” produces much hope in the life of a Christian. When we are tempted to doubt God will provide for us and care for us, we should remember to look at the cross where Jesus died for us. At the cross, God provided for us at our greatest point of need. We needed redemption, and God provided it. Since He has done this, we know God will meet our daily needs. Through Jesus’ death we experience forgiveness and a right relationship with God. His death also provides us with the confidence to know that God will always give us what we need.

God Promises to be with Me
When you read these verses out loud, you cannot help but pick up the pace and excitement when you arrive at the last few verses. The declaration that nothing will separate the Christian from the love of Christ is a shout of victory! Has God abandoned us when we experience difficult times? No! He is there and He is with us. By the provision of His Son for our sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, God pledges that He will never leave us and will always be with us. We just have to remind ourselves of these truths in the face of difficulty. Instead of listening to ourselves, we need to hear His word and preach it to ourselves.

Related Posts:
Loving Difficult People
When Prayer is Difficult

For Further Reading:
The Cross of Christ by John StottWalking with God through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller

photo credit: j / f / photos via photopin cc

photo credit: j / f / photos via photopin cc

No one would have to think long about examples of our culture’s love of being offended. While we usually think about how this plays itself out in cultural discussions, the truth is that we carry our propensity for getting offended into our personal relationships. Ask us what other people have done to us, and we can offer a laundry list of offenses. They might be harsh words or some kind of betrayal, but we cannot forget them and we cannot let go of them. Our rehearsing of how we have been wronged harms us and our relationships with others. The refusal to let go of past offenses creates bitterness that eats at us from the inside out.
“Good sense makes one slow to anger,and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”

These words from Proverbs 19:11 help us understand how we should handle times when we are offended by other people. First he tells us that good sense should make us slow to anger. There is no glory is assigning the worst possible meaning and motives to another person’s words. In fact, it is foolish to rashly assume someone meant the worst towards you. Solomon says good sense and wisdom will slow down to think before responding in anger to people and situations.

While our culture finds glory in being perpetually offended, Solomon says real glory is found in overlooking an offense. The Bible holds out the virtue of simply letting things go rather than losing our minds in anger or simmering in bitterness and unforgiveness. Whenever someone offends you, if at all possible, simply let the offense go.

What should you do if there is an offense you simply can’t get over? Talk to the person about it face to face. Don’t post a Facebook status pointed at them without mentioning their name. Don’t try to work things out through text messaging. Sit down and tell the other person about the offense. If they say they are sorry, forgive them. If they do not, forgive them from the heart anyway. This may mean the relationship may not be mended, but you at least are not harboring bitterness and unforgiveness in your own heart.

There is a simple test we can give ourselves to see if we have forgiven another person. Jay Adams says when you forgive another person you are saying you will not bring the matter up to them again, you will not bring it up to others, and you will not dwell on it. This is the test of forgiveness. Can you genuinely let it go? Can you stop holding the other person’s sin against them?

You may wonder why we should do this. Why should we forgive other people when they wrong us instead of getting revenge? Jeremiah 31 records God’s promise for the age of the New Covenant, when He will dwell in the hearts of His people. God’s lengthy promise includes these words, “For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Because of Jesus’ death, when we trust in Him God no longer holds our sins against us. We experience the full and free pardon of sin. How can we receive forgiveness and not give it in return?

If you are having a difficult time forgiving another person, reflect on the grace and forgiveness you have been shown. Also remember that revenge does not belong to you and justice will not be avoided. This doesn’t happen through some fluke of “karma,” but because God is just and no sin goes unpunished. Every sin gets called into account either in hell or on the cross, so don’t pursue your own revenge. Forgive freely, just as you have been forgiven, trusting in the ultimate justice and goodness of God.

Related Posts:
A Lesson from My Five-Year-Old Daughter
Karma is Dead

For Further Reading:
The Lost Art of Listening by Michael Nichols