Keep Short Accounts

What you can’t forget, forgive.  Life’s too short for anxious score keeping. — Teju Cole
If you are a member of the human race, you have been disappointed and hurt by other people. And some of the worst offenses and injustices have come at the hands of those closest to you. Or at least you thought they were close to you. Human nature (and quite frankly, modern culture) compels us to get even with those who have wronged us. Lash out. Hurt back. Never forget.  
We can all recall times that we have been wounded by others. We still see clearly the faces of those who hurt us, sometimes like it was yesterday. The sights, the sounds, the words that were thrown around during those injustices often remain vividly etched in our memories. We may even have a very full scorecard we carry around...
with us. If we were honest, we would relish the opportunity to tell them off if they ever asked for our forgiveness. But, as Kevin Myers points out, “Resentment, bitterness and a vengeful spirit will only harm us and infect our relationships.”

The solution? John Maxwell suggests that we “keep short accounts”. Don’t hang onto the past. Don’t keep a list of every wrong that people have done to you. And though it might seem impossible, Myers goes one step further, admonishing us to “forget about it”. And if you can’t forget, then just forgive.

If that seems a lot easier said than done, then remember the power of the cross where a perfect man, who was at the same time God, hung bruised, bloody, beaten and ridiculed — for all of us. Imagine where we would be if he had decided not to forgive us. But instead, he took our punishment and wiped our slate clean. So how can we, who have received the ultimate pardon from God Himself, not forgive one another?

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?
  1. The author of this Psalm is not known, however, he is recalling how God rescued the Israelites during their exodus from Egypt by parting the Red Sea.
Question: According to this verse, how does the sin in our lives that we will not let go of, or turn from, affect our relationship with God?

Psalm 66:18 (New Living Translation)

If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

  1. Paul wrote this letter to the Colossian Christians while sitting in a Roman prison. In these two verses, Paul gives us a practical example of how believers should behave.
Question: What characteristics does Paul say we should possess as followers of Christ?

 Colossians 3:12-13 (New International Version)

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.


LIVE… What will you do now?

Draw a line down the center of the space below to create two columns for a visual. On the left side, make a list of those who have hurt you. On the right side, make a list of some of the things you have said and done to hurt others. Seeing those lists side-by-side, how do the words of Paul in Colossians, forgive as the Lord forgave you, become more real?

Using that same list, on the left side is there any offense or ill-treatment you can’t forget and just need to forgive? On the right slide, who do you still need to humbly seek forgiveness from to begin any healing?

Do you keep short accounts? How could keeping short accounts change the relationships in your life?

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?

Thank God for forgiving you of the sins you have committed and will commit. Thank Him for taking your punishment for you and for paying a debt you could never repay. Ask Him to help you let go of the long account you may be holding against another. Acknowledge that you cannot do it without His help.
Jan Tanis
Jan Tanis

I'm Jan and I'm happy you stopped in. Please, leave a comment and follow along..

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jan, beautiful and so very true and a special reminder to how we should live our lives.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Happy May Day my friend and wishing you a good weekend.
    Hugs, CM