The Oil of Relationships
Bible Reading: Luke 7:36-50
A person who is forgiven little shows only little love. Luke 7:47
“Allison said she was sorry for blabbing my secret,” Brooke fumed. “But it wasn’t like she was actually sorry. She laughed and made a face like she thought I was stupid for being angry. And then she told some more people that afternoon.”
Talk about it: What should Brooke do about her blabbermouthing buddy?
Brooke told Allison she was upset she had spread her secret, so she’s talked firsthand to the person who wronged her—that’s a great start. From now on Brooke would be smart to watch what she shares with Allison. And it might even be good for Brooke to take a break from their friendship.
But there’s one more thing Brooke can do: She can forgive.
Why would she bother to forgive? I’ll give you two good reasons.
Big Reason Number One: Unforgiveness kills.
It’s simple: Anytime we store up grudges toward a person, that friendship dies. When people don’t take time to confront and mend hurts, they rip apart relationships. They break up the closeness God wants for Christians to enjoy. They split families, friends, youth groups, and churches. And unforgiveness makes it tough to feel close to God.
Big Reason Number Two: Forgiveness frees.
Learning to forgive the people who wrong you is the only way your relationships will grow strong. Brooke found that Allison truly wasn’t interested in treating her in a way that would build a strong friendship. But Brooke has found other friends with whom she can talk about mess-ups and move on. She and her friends have discovered that if they can love each other despite their faults—and even accept each other when they hurt one another—they can’t help but become even better friends.
Forgiveness works like oil in relationships. It reduces friction and it allows people to get close to each other without overheating.
Without forgiveness, in fact, relationships freeze up like an engine a few quarts short on oil. If you don’t sense a forgiving heart in someone, you won’t ever be truly open to him or her. You know that an unforgiving person won’t give you half a chance to develop a deep, lasting, and close relationship. And if you aren’t a forgiving person—no matter how smart, talented, or downright good-looking you might be—you won’t develop the close relationships you want.
Can you see it? Unforgiveness kills. But forgiveness frees.
TALK: How skilled are you at forgiving—and receiving forgiveness?
PRAY: God, help us learn this crucial habit of forgiveness. We want our friendships and our relationships with one another to be strong and healthy.
ACT: Do you sense that you have a relationship in which you need to work on forgiveness? What’s your plan?