Another chapter in the Purpose Driven Life, made some points that literally jumped off the page at me and I felt like I had to share:

“Most people are reluctant to show mercy because they don’t understand the difference between trust and forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past. Trust has to do with future behavior. Forgiveness must be immediate, whether or not a person asks for it. Trust must be rebuilt over time. Trust requires a track record. If someone hurts you repeatedly, you are commanded by God to forgive them instantly, but you are not expected to trust them immediately, and you are not expected to continue allowing them to hurt you.

As soon as I read this, I knew I had to let go of somethings and people to God. Within minutes, I IMMEDIATELY felt free. It was awesome. I hope this point will help someone else to forgive his/her offenders. I learned that I had confused trust with forgiveness, and they are NOT the same thing. Thank God! I can be obedient and have my heart protected at the same time.

“If you are a part of God’s family, it is your responsibility to protect the unity where you fellowship. You are commissioned by Jesus Christ to do everything possible to preserve the unity, protect fellowship, and promote harmony in your church family and among all believers.” – I made a commitment last year to do this, and I’ve had success in some areas, but not in others. Everything is a process . . .

Peacemaking is not avoiding conflict. Running from a problem, pretending it doesn’t exist, or being afraid to talk about it is actually cowardice. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, was never afraid of conflict. On occasion He provoked it for the good of everyone. Sometimes we need to avoid conflict, sometimes we need to create it, and sometimes we need to resolve it. That’s why we must pray for the Holy Spirit’s continual guidance . . . Always giving in, acting like a doormat, and allowing others to always run over you is not what Jesus had in mind. He refused to back down on many issues, standing his ground in the face of evil opposition.”

I wish I could shout this from the rooftops too: “People become disillusioned with the church for many understandable reasons. The list could be quite long: conflict, hurt, hypocrisy, neglect, pettiness, legalism, and other sins. Rather than being shocked and surprised, we must remember that the church is made up of real sinners, including ourselves. Because we’re sinners, we hurt each other, sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally. But instead of leaving the church, we need to stay and work it out if at all possible. Reconciliation, not running away, is the road to stronger character and deeper fellowship. Divorcing your church at the first sign of disappointment or disillusionment is a mark of immaturity. God has things he wants to teach you, and others, too. Besides, there is no perfect church to escape to. Every church has its own set of weaknesses and problems. You’ll soon be disappointed again.”

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