One of the things that has always been difficult for me is unforgiveness. When I was a child, it used to eat me up when any of my friends were mad at me. In my dating relationships, I hated being in a fight. I would bake brownies and pick out the best Hallmark make-up card in hopes that it would remove the conflict from the relationship and bring things back to the harmonious state in which they belonged. I have apologized for many things that I probably didn’t need to just to know that it would make things better.
In recent months I have come to understand why conflict is so hard for me.
First, I am a woman. My husband and I (along with several other couples) have been working through Dr. Emerson Eggerich’s, Love and Respect video series. It is a great series that I highly recommend for all married couples, but one big learning for me was that men and women instinctively handle conflict differently. Most men tend to deal with conflict by avoiding it (or getting as far away from it as possible) while most women want to talk through things in order to feel it is resolved.
Second, I am an INFP. Myers-Briggs. My personality type not only avoids conflict, but is incredibly unhappy with conflict in their lives (spousal, kids, friends, even a good fist-fight in the airport bothers me). My instincts tell me that conflict is just not good. It’s not natural.
So one thing I have struggled with throughout my life is messing up and not knowing if I’ve been forgiven for it. Not knowing if the conflict is ever resolved.
As I have worked through Dan Webster’s “Real Deal” workbook, I came across a verse that hit me with a different perspective than ever before: Psalm 51:4
Against you, and you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.
The setting for this verse is David crying out for God’s forgiveness as he realizes how out of step he is with God’s will for his life. This verse falls in the same Chapter of the Psalms that contains “Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me. (v.10)”
I realized as I re-read this verse that the forgiveness I most take for granted is God’s. I know God loves me unconditionally and now matter how far I travel from His will, no matter how much I hurt Him, if I genuinely seek His forgiveness, He is faithful and He promises that His forgiveness will be there.
Verse 4 reminds me that maybe that is what I really need to be concerned about. While I can ask forgiveness from others, there is no guarantee that they will forgive me. After all, people are human and while I know some pretty amazing humans, none of them love me or care for me as much as God. If I’ve done all I can to reach out and sincerely seek their forgiveness then maybe I need to remember to be thankful for what I do have.
The forgiveness of a great and mighty God, who will always be with me and who has a plan to use my life for His glory. If I don’t let the small stuff like conflict and worry sidetrack me.