Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Colossians 3:12-13
Forgiving the Lesser Things
Having been a counselor over 25 years, I have heard many horrific, traumatic stories of the evil one human being perpetrated against another human being. Abuse, abandonment, betrayal. Stories I hate to even recall. For the individual that was sinned against, to experience lasting freedom they must ultimately forgive their offender. For many that will require the help of a pastor or counselor. So please hear me, I am NOT minimizing that kind of trauma but it is not the topic of today’s Victory Call.
Today I want to consider “the lesser things.” These lesser things may not even be sins, but they are things that may offend us around which we build up a case against that person and it creates a relational rift or drift. These are subtle things that we may not even be distinctly aware of. For example:
The person has disappointed you or disagreed with you.
The person has failed to keep their word or has hurt you.
The person has gossiped about you or misunderstood you.
The person may simply be different than you – prefer different activities or a different style of music. Their only “offense” may be that they are from a different generation which you don’t quite agree with or understand.
These are subtle, lesser things.
It reminds me of the USS Arizona – still sitting below the surface in Pearl Harbor where it came to rest in December 1941 when the harbor was bombed. The USS Arizona was believed to be holding about 15 million gallons of oil and it burned for 3 days. From that day till now, 76 years later, it has leaked oil into the harbor. At its current rate it is estimated that the remaining 500,000 gallons of oil will slowly leak for about 540 more years! It’s a subtle leak, almost imperceptible, but it still polluting the surrounding water.
I believe the “lesser things” can be like that leaking oil. The “offense” may be like a slow leak almost imperceptible but day in and day out it is polluting the heart.
I chose this verse today because we are called to bear with one another – these lesser things – not allowing them to create a rift or drift in relationship or to prevent us from developing a relationship in the first place.
And further, it says that if there is a complaint we are to forgive as we have been forgiven.
Let us not allow the lesser things to divide or hinder love and unity. It takes some deeper thought because the lesser things may not be readily apparent but none-the-less they can be destructive to our souls.
Is there a slow leak of resentment, unforgiveness, bitterness or unacceptance that is polluting your heart? Perhaps it’s time to forgive the lesser things.
Diane Hunt serves part-time on the staff of America’s Keswick providing ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.