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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dealing with Unforgiving People

When dealing with an unforgiving person, it is important to not take it to heart. Chances are they are  unforgiving toward others as well.  The Bible says that from a person's heart their mouth speaks. So if they are unforgiving and hide that fact, at some point it will be revealed. The important thing is that their attitudes do not become apart of what is in our own hearts. Will we also be unforgiving in return? Will their hostility become our own? May God place a vast chasm between such hearts so the poison is unable to infect the one who chooses to forgive.  Such a person can find happiness within themselves even in the most hurtful circumstances. Our own attitudes do not depend on anyone else. Yet, for the one who chooses to be unforgiving, these are the ones who take bitterness to their graves. Perhaps they are unaware there is a choice, or maybe they just don't know how to be any other way. Still, it is vital to show them with our own selfless response to such rudeness. Do not repay evil for evil, but with love and dignity address others, even if their actions have been offensive. By doing so, the offense is covered and love promoted. Demonstrating such behavior keeps our own hearts clean, and shows the one who is stumbling a much more dignified way to live. Others in their lives may have shown them this before without the benefit of seeing their hearts change, and perhaps neither will we, but regardless, if we do our part, God promises us a reward here on earth as well as in heaven. There is never any reason a person should take responsibility for being abused because there is never a justified cause for the abuse of being unforgiven, regardless the reason. The other person's reason is simply not justifiable. Still, there is a tendency to want reconciliation even through such situations. Still, never be over sympathetic toward the one being unforgiving. Unforgiveness is abusive, but worst of all it is abusive to the abuser by locking them into a hardened heart that will break on their own death bed if not sooner. Remember, broken hearts are the sacrifices of God! We are only responsible for our own choices. No one can cause us to be responsible for them no matter how abusive they may be, or how much we want to save them from themselves, we cannot.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post, I often feel like the black sheep of our family, for not only my own actions, but for reminding others of their own self glorifying actions as well. I am not much of a socialite, and family time often reminds me of the burdens emotionally. I read this, and it helped me get my mind right again!

Maggie Lane said...

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my post. It truly blesses me to know someone else has been helped by what I have written.

Sondra Claflin said...

Thank you Maggie, this was encouraging and affirming in many ways for me. I have a mother in law who brings up the past after I think its been reconciled, I can hear unforgiviness and bitterness at times, sometimes its after we get through a tough fight and she will later, after we have already discussed and apologized for each of our sides, she will recant her apology and to others continue to assert her defensive side instead of continuing down the path of reconciliation. I struggle with knowing how much I give her as far as time with my sons and with my self. It is hard, but your post here affirms what is on my heart to do and that is overlooking an offence and covering it with love, as well as not being overly sympathetic to her. When I try to please her by taking all the blame and trying to make the problem go away by dismissing a boundary shes crossed, I end up bitter and unforgiving as well. I have recently been distancing myself more with this behavior that has been occurring the last 5 years of my marriage. I am 25 and still have a lot to learn about people and life. But slowly I am learning that loving someone doesn't mean I give them more of me to please them, loving a hurtful individual the right way means giving more of me to God and him working on their heart instead of me trying to change them and get upset about what they do or say. Wonderful post, Im glad its here. :) God bless you and your ministry to others. May your words continue to be a light and encouragement to fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

Maggie Lane said...

Sondra, I am so glad you found me and were blessed by the revelation from my own life. Our closest relationships can truly be the hardest. Being a Christian is not for the faint of heart! Please feel free to read more of my posts here or purchase one of my books through Amazon. You have truly blessed me with your testimony. God's grace and mercy to you ~

Marius bothma said...

Hello Maggie

How do I deal with someone unforgiving if that someone is my wife whom I Love dearly? She only sees the world in black and white and there are NO grey areas for her. My sister in law (her brother's wife) crossed the line once or twice and my wife decided to ban her from her life more than a year ago, since then she is not welcome in our home and obviously this put strain on the family, especially my mother in law and her own brother. My wife believes that she has a choice and she prefers not to associate with her sister in law. You stated that these persons are like this with everyone; this is true with her to. She chose not to forgive her dad for promises he did not keep and for the financial neglect he put her mother through. He too is unwelcome at our home and although we look after her Mom now, he does not come and visit her. She has also recently decide to end a friendship with a close friend (she only has 2 friends) whom she thought was not doing enough or adding enough to the friendship. She believes that these are people who take her for granted and she will not have that. I am on the side looking in, how do I deal with this? Although we had many discussions about this, it makes no difference to her heart and believes. She often thinks that I do not support her when I argue about her being so hard on those around her.

Any advice? How do approach this?

Maggie Lane said...

Hi Marius,
Sometimes it helps us just to understand what we are dealing with and some people cut others from their lives as a way of taking care of themselves because they just don't have the ability to be open to others and take care of themselves at the same time. Try accepting your wife as much as possible to support her decision to take care of herself. Try not to take it personal even if it is personal. Example is the best teacher.
Thanks for your response and concern for relational excellence.