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February 12, 2020

I have often been guilty of careless concern for the feelings of others.  I may not be guilty of intentional harm or insult; but another person may have felt slighted or, perhaps thought I had intended to call attention to some fault in their life.  It is easy to find yourself in a hole dug by your tongue.
Promises are easy to make, but often hard to keep.  We must remember this fact when we are engaged in a transaction with another.  The Word says that it is best not to not to make a vow, than to make one and not keep it. (Ecclesiastes 5:5-6)  It is not difficult to be misunderstood, especially when others want you to consent with their desires.
It is a fact that sometime or another you will disappoint a friend.  What happens when you realize that your words or actions have caused another pain?  This is the question that must be addressed.
The first thing that comes to our mind is to pretend.  We can pretend that it didn’t really happen as it did.  We can pretend that it was such a small thing and really doesn’t matter.  We can pretend it wasn’t really our fault.  We can pretend that it meant to be a joke and was all in fun.  We can pretend that the other person knows we are his friend, and he will forgive and forget.
The great problem with this reasoning is that the problem is not between you and your brother, it is between you and God!  God gave us the command to love one another.  Any act or comment that is not in love is a violation of God’s law.   God requires that we make amends with the injured friend before we can approach his throne. (Matthew 5:23-24) 
Jesus told his hearers that to give a drink of water to thirsty person was the same as giving it to Him. (Matthew 25:40)   
When Paul was on the road to Damascus to search out and kill Christians, he was struck down by a great light.  He heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”  Jesus told Paul that the harm was to Him, not to believers. (Acts 9:4)
The prophet Zechariah wrote that God’s people were the apple of His eye. (Zecharaih  2:2)
The sin is disobedience to God’s command to love.  The injury is toward God’s child.  We must recognize a two-fold responsibility.  Until we can be right with God, we must do what we can to remedy the hurt. (Matthew 5:23, Psalms 66:18))  Next, we must ask forgiveness from God himself.  David did this after he had arranged for Uriah to be killed. (Psalms 51:3-4)  
Confessing a fault is not easy.  Admitting to a friend that you are sorry may be hard, but it is God’s command.  We cannot undo what we have done.  Judas tried that and failed.  We can be forgiven, when we confess. (I John 8-10) 
What about when we are the injured party?  What should be our attitude?  We are instructed to forgive.  We are to forgive, if we expect to be forgiven. (Matthew 6:12)   
Eldridge Cloessner
Pleasant Grove Baptist Church