FRUITFUL MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL INC.

LEADERSHIP & MINISTRY DEVELOPMENT SEMINAR

 

FOR PASTORS, MINISTERS, AND CHURCH LEADERS

 

 

KUMASI, GHANA

 

 

JULY 22 – 24, 2008

 

Theme: THE FAMILY LIFE OF GOD’S MINISTER

PART II

 

 

Speaker: Rev. Dr. Samuel Kisseadoo

 

Int. Evangelist, Marriage and Family Counselor, Bible Teacher, Author, Prayer Minister

 

Professor of Biology, Hampton, Virginia, USA

 

Founder and President, Fruitful Ministries International Inc. (FM Int.)

(Evangelistic & Teaching Ministry)

 

 

6 Red Robin Turn, Hampton, VA 23669, USA

Phone: 757-7289330

kisseadoo@msn.com

 

 

BUILDING ON A FOUNDATION

 

            Men and women of God, especially Ministers of the Gospel and Church Leaders, must gather from time to time and evaluate the foundation on which they are building, take a closer look at the infrastructure of their ministry (service), and relate everything to their personal lifestyle and family life. It helps us to become more mature. Maturity in not just growing old but is more of growing up.

We leave home (plus our marriages and families) and go out to influence lives, demonstrate to people the kind of life that Jesus would have lived if He were physically among them on earth, and impact our communities positively for God. We return to our homes, spouses, children, and other family members with either good or bad results of what we engaged in outside the home (thoughts, aspirations, actions, attitudes).

God designed the home, marriage, and family to be the foundation of society and the Church, but must have a solid foundation before society and the Church can have a solid foundation as well. The human being who forms the Church or any part of society was born through marriage into a family in a home. If he or she has a weak foundation (or no foundation) in life, how does the one contribute in building a strong foundation for anything else that he or she becomes a part of, especially as a Pastor, Minister, or Leader in a Church?

 

God therefore emphatically states in His word that any Pastor or Church Leader must be: “One who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence, for if a man does not how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?” (1 Timothy 3:4, 5.

 

            To build on a godly and good foundation, Jesus clearly taught us how to do so, in Mathew 7: 24-29 and Luke 6: 46-49, and explained the dangers of not building on a solid foundation.

Therefore, one of the greatest desires of the heart of the Lord Jesus is for us to:

 

1)      Come to Him

(Decide to draw close to the Lord in humility with a submitted will to listen to Him and obtain His instructions)

2)      Hear His sayings

(Carefully listen to specific words and guidance that He has for you directly in the Bible; through His interactions with your spirit in waiting, meditation, and prayer; or through another person such as a parent or spouse, especially through another Christian)

3)      Do what He tell us

(Take His words to heart and make a firm decision to obey what exactly He tell you to do or not to do)

 

To ensure that we build on the best foundation, we need to know and understand the following:

 

1)      The Bible has clearly pointed out and cautioned us that we need a solid foundation to build our lives on. The only solid foundation that each human being is required to build on is the Rock, who is Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:10, 11; 1 Cor. 10:4; Eph. 2:20; Math 16:18; Math 7:24).

 

2)      The Lord expects us to practically build on the Rock (Christ) by reading, meditating on, obeying, and applying His word to develop strong faith for fervent prayers that will give us God’s power and grace, which Jesus explained as “digging deep and laying the foundation on the rock” (Luke 6:48).

 

3)      When we do so, The Lord assured us (Math. 7:25) that our house will survive every storm and still stand intact, although:

a)      The rain will descend (trouble from above)

b)      The floods will come (trouble will develop below)

c)      The winds will blow and beat on that house (trouble from all sides)

 

4)      Jesus describes the one who build upon sincere faith in Christ and obedience to His unadulterated word as a wise man (Math. 7:24).

 

5)      Obedience to the Lord and total dependence upon Him and His promises enables you to have a solid foundation to build upon (your values, marriage, plans, projects, education, job, business, investments, ministry etc., and your entire lifestyle).

 

6)      The Lord describes anyone who does not build upon the true power of Jesus Christ and obedience to His pure word as stated in the Bible as a foolish man (Mathew 7:26), no matter how spiritual and successful you think you are.

 

7)      Anything, which is not built upon the required spiritual and godly foundation prescribed by God, will ultimately collapse and perish, no matter how glamorous we see it to be.

 

8)   Without the required foundation, we can strive, compete with others who are building, obtain and use the same resources, make great progress in eyes of men, and appear to have succeeded, but finally when the day of testing comes, our building will not stand the test.

 

If the foundations are destroyed, the righteous can do nothing” (Psalm 11:3).

 

 

THE BLESSING OF MARRIAGE OR WEDDING

 

 

DEFINITION

 

In Christian tradition, the blessing of a marriage is often synonymous with a wedding.  It is the act of solemnization of a marriage in God’s presence, to sanctify and honor the institution, and seal the bond of the union in the Holy Spirit through the application of the word of God and prayer.  It is meant to confirm absolute commitment of both partners to God and to each other.  The process causes the establishment of a covenant through the making of vows. 

 

In many Churches, however, when the term “blessing” is used for the ceremony without any reference to it being a “wedding” it implies that it is a simpler ceremony than an elaborate wedding.   Special circumstances like inadequate funds, or a couple becoming converted to Christianity after they have married, will call for a simple ceremony classified more as a “blessing of the marriage” than a “wedding”, although some people call every Church marriage ceremony a wedding.

A couple could choose not to have any elaborate wedding ceremony, no matter the circumstances.  It could also be a “disciplinary measure” for a couple that fell into sin before they came to present themselves before God.  If the man and woman have lived together already and may even have children, then a “blessing” is normally performed for them, by their Pastor.

 

 

IS THE CONCEPT OF WEDDING SCRIPTURAL?

 

There is the belief in some cultures that the concept of wedding is rooted in European or Western tradition, and is practiced by the educated elite of other nations (especially in Africa), who forsake their own native culture and traditions. 

 

However, I find the notion of a wedding to be scriptural.  The Bible makes it crystal clear that marriage is a covenant relationship.  As we know, all covenants are made with vows based on God’s Word.  The wedding ceremony was designed to effect that covenant publicly before witnesses.  In reality, therefore, every wedding must have its foundation in God’s Word. 

 

As is the case for all Biblical concepts practiced or enjoyed by everyone in and outside of church due to its appeal, the world has tainted the process in several instances with carnality.  This adulteration erodes its sanctity and causes it to lose its spiritual flavor, making it appear worldly and nonessential to those exposed to the wrong side of weddings. 

 

Jesus attended a wedding in His day, and thereby sanctified the ceremony by His presence as a Godly one (St. John 2: 1-11). He gave free wine to the couple and the attendants to fulfill a need, thus making the giving of gifts at weddings also scriptural. 

 

We realize, however, that several non-traditional wedding ceremonies are designed and performed to the taste of the couple involved, sometimes even outside of a Church sanctuary.  Today there are weddings performed at beaches, parks, and hotels, sometimes using modified forms of the traditional vows.

 

PURPOSE OF WEDDINGS

 

A wedding is primarily designed to represent the final public declaration of the establishment of a holy covenant between one man and one woman committed to join their lives together in a permanent bond or union in the presence of God and witnesses.  The wedding ceremony honors the woman, who is wedded by the man. 

 

A wedding also honors the Lord in, at least, two ways:

 

1) The obedience of the two people regarding God’s instructions

    for the proper establishment of marriage and families.

 

2) The sanctification of the institution in God’s Name through the ceremony. 

 

3) Considering the prominent position of the lady in the process, we can call the ceremony as “her wedding” before we refer to it as the man’s wedding.  It is the man who weds the woman, and in doing so he becomes honored as well in the process. 

 

Each of you should know how to take a wife for himself in holiness (sanctification) and honor, not in passion of lust like the Gentiles (heathen) who do not know God” (1 Thessalonians 4: 4, 5). 

 

 

4) In the Christian context, the marriage cannot be consummated (sealed by sexual intercourse) after only an engagement (European or African style), until the marriage is properly blessed in the presence of witnesses.  A wedding therefore opens the door for the total experience of the God-given enjoyment of sexual intercourse and romance with an opposite sex, in the proper way.

 

5) The wedding is also a constant reminder of our deep commitment to God, to the institution of marriage, and to each other, as we see the wedding rings on our fingers each moment of the day.  We get further reminders as we celebrate anniversaries, revisit the ceremony through pictures and recorded tapes, and recall the momentous occasion as we see and use various gifts given during the wedding. 

 

 

When two people marry without a wedding, any “negative impact of dishonor” is felt more by the woman later in the marriage than the man, who may not even bother about it at all.  Out of the excitement for quick childbirth, and impatience to be hailed as having joined the ranks of the married ones, some people (especially ladies) have rushed their partners into marriages without decent ceremonies that befitted them, only to regret and grow bitter with complaints later in the marriage.  After the emotions and excitement have subsided and realities set in, they begin to envy the beautiful wedding pictures of their friends they see on walls of their homes.  Their children add to the confusion by asking them for their wedding photographs.

We are not saying you must be able to show your children a picture in which you are wearing a white veil of 100 feet long. The point we are making here is that please get your marriage blessed in the best decent way possible.  This will arm you with some things you can stand on to reinforce the teaching of the godly values you are expected to impart to your children.

We must always consider all situations carefully, and be sure of what our needs are in life.  A good leader always plans with the end in mind.  As we cooperate with God and diligently execute definite plans, we would patiently allow Him to work out things completely, beneficially, and beautifully for us.

 

THE BLESSING CEREMONY

 

The marriage must be properly and officially blessed in the presence of a witness or witnesses.  In this solemn and Spiritual act, the two persons are joined together in the Presence of the Lord.  It has to be done by an ordained Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The officiating Minister will plan the church wedding ceremony with the prospective couple.

 

Since all things are sanctified by the Word of God and prayer (1Timothy 4:5), there should be the reading of some appropriate scripture followed by solemn prayer to call upon God to bless the union, cement it, be Lord over it, and make it fruitful.  The ceremony calls upon God to be the primary witness of the vows of the two people who have mutually consented to join their lives together in holy matrimony for the accomplishment of His will, all the days of their lives.

 

This should not be confused with the opening and closing prayers at the engagement ceremony.  Those prayers are similar to other forms of prayer over our food, or prayers for God to be present at a meeting.  If, for simplicity and other reasons, the marriage blessing is designed to become part of the engagement ceremony, then the Minister in charge must make the man and woman vow to each other in the presence of God and the witnesses present. 

The Minister must properly join them together by reading appropriate scriptures and praying over them with the intention of committing them into God’s hands and ushering them into a covenant relationship.

A marriage cannot be given its final blessing in the absence of one of the prospective couple; both must be present

 

 

MODIFICATIONS OF THE WEDDING PROCEDURES

 

If for some reason the man and woman realize that they are not in good financial standing for an elaborate wedding ceremony, or prefer to have a simple ceremony, then they need not have the regular "white" wedding with a wedding dress and a veil, entourage etc.

They can have a simple blessing by a Minister at the engagement ceremony as already stated, in a court house immediately following the registration procedure, in a church sanctuary, or even in the Minister’s church office, depending on existing laws of the land and church regulations. 

 

Several people plan their blessing ceremony to become part of the regular Sunday church service in order to eliminate any fanfare, elaboration, or undesirable cost. 

 

Some of these may also apply if the two people fell into sin before the blessing. How the marriage is blessed in such situations will depend on the nature of the violation and the regulations established by a particular church in the light of God’s word. 

If the man and woman mistakenly lived together after the engagement (willfully as Christians, or ignorantly as unbelievers) without a blessing, they should confess their sin before God after realization and acceptance of their wrongdoing.  After that they must go to a Minister who will counsel them, and bless the marriage properly for God's full acceptance.

THERE ARE FUNDAMENTAL CHRISTIAN AND TRADITIONAL MATRIMONIAL PRINCIPLES, WHICH CANNOT BE VIOLATED BY ANY PERSONS WHO DECIDE TO MARRY.

 

 

COUNSELING AND THE APPLICATION OF GODLY WISDOM

 

The planning of the details of any engagement, wedding, or marriage blessing ceremony, is largely dependent upon the wishes, objectives, and lifestyles of the man and woman involved.

WISDOM SHOULD BE EMPLOYED AT ALL LEVELS AND FOR ALL OCCASIONS IN ORDER TO LAY A SOLID FOUNDATION FOR A HOLY, MEANINGFUL, AND PRODUCTIVE FAMILY LIFE.

 

Before any marriage, the persons involved must be members of a good Church, and must be under the authority of a local Pastor who will help to counsel them.

 

Pre-marital Counseling is essential because it:

 

1)      Is insurance against future problems in the marriage.

2)      Reinforces important truth that we know already.

3)      Provides new truth and new ideas for planning a successful marriage and family life.

4)      Provides forum for the prospective couple to air any grievances, ask difficult questions, get clear answers, and take time to understand each other.

5)      Enables the man and woman to have a mentor and counselor for future consultation.

6)      Opens the door for ironing out differences and forgiving offences, and for closer fellowship between the gentlemen and the lady.

7)      Draws the minds of the man and woman towards seriousness and the facing of realities, away from the usual sentiments and infatuation.

 

THE ROLE OF THE PASTOR, AND CHURCH REGULATIONS

 

The Minister will give them guidance and teach them how to handle the relationship.  The man and woman must therefore actively involve the Minister in most aspects of their planning, not only for the ceremonies but life after the wedding.

 

PRE-MARITAL COUNSELING IS IN PLACE FOR SEVERAL CHURCHES TODAY, BUT THERE IS WOEFUL LACK OF POST-MARITAL COUNSELING FOR MOST COUPLES IN ALL COMMUNITIES.  VERY FEW CHURCHES HAVE ANY CLEARLY DEFINED POST-MARITAL COUNSELING PROGRAMS. 

 

Some churches have regulations that have to be adhered to if the wedding is going to be under their auspices.  Cooperation should lovingly and understandably prevail in such circumstances so that church rules are not violated which may end up being disobedience to God. 

In the same token, churches should desist from man-made rules and restrictions that merely bring ceremonies and people’s freedom under their control, for no realistic goals.  That takes away the joy and the maturity the couple will gain through the experience of the planning, execution of process; it obliterates the joy of their dreams fulfilled, which will affect the bond and enthusiasm in the marriage

 

I will not personally approve of the blessing of any marriage without any form of screening and counseling, by the Officiating Minister or Local Pastor, to make sure that there is no hidden sin which is not dealt with, and which will hinder God's blessings in the marriage.  The counseling will also teach and reinforce the fundamental principles necessary for a happy and fruitful family life.  This is scriptural and completely pleasing in the sight of the Lord.

The man and woman going to marry must make sure that they have discussed and become sure of their Church membership and involvement right from the onset of courtship, and thereby agreed on where and how they will get their marriage blessed. 

 

 

SEPARATION, DIVORCE, AND REMARRIAGE

 

DIVORCE

 

You cannot just divorce your spouse simply because you are “not getting along very well with each other”. God hates divorce, and did not make it part of His original plan for us, when He designed marriage as a holy union between one man and one woman. “For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce” (Malachi 2: 16). Whatever you have to do to prevent divorce, you have to do it, and start early before it becomes too late.

In my opinion, if you know in your heart that you cannot be honest with yourself, discipline yourself, and become committed to another person in a marriage bond, then ask God for the grace to stay single and pure without marrying. Am I stepping on some toes really hard?? But, please, you understand the point I am trying to make, don’t you?

We must all agree that divorce is a terrible tragedy, which we must all plan to avoid at all cost. For a man and a woman to vow to each other before God Almighty as permanent partners (for better or for worse), expose themselves to each other sexually, shared their bodies and emotions plus all other resources intensely for a long period of time, assemble family members and friends as witnesses, mix their families together to create in-law relations, and above all have children from their exclusive union, and then decide to break the holy union forever against what they originally promised God and man, is a huge and incalculable damage.

 

Even where the reasons of adultery and fornication become the grounds for divorce, God did not categorically call for divorce, because every sin can be forgiven. There have been countless cases of serious infidelity on the part of spouses, but compassion, true love, humility, wisdom, fear of God, application of scripture, endurance, patience, and intense prayers have brought restoration and joy to the “almost-on-the-rocks” marriages again. But unfortunately, divorce can occur with all the attendant consequences, because of the fallen nature of man.

 

According to the Gospels (Mathew 5: 31, 32; Mathew 19: 1-9; Mark 10: 1-8; Luke 16: 18), Moses wrote the law on divorce (Deuteronomy 24:1) because of hardness of the heart of the people of Israel. All divorce can therefore be traced to the hardness of human hearts (on the part of a husband, or a wife, or both partners). Under the Gospels, there is no excuse for "hardness of heart" against each other (2 Corinthians 5: 17, 18; Ephesians 4: 24) and so no room was made by Christ for divorce based on that.  “Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5: 24).

 

Except for fornication or adultery, if a man puts away his wife he causes her to commit adultery, and if he marries another woman he commits adultery.  Furthermore it has been said, whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.  But I (Jesus) say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery (Mathew 5: 31, 32). 

He (Jesus) answered and said to them, ‘Have you not read that he who made them at the beginning made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh’?  So then, they are no longer two but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate.  Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.  And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery (Mathew 19: 4-6 & 8-9).

Sex outside of marriage makes the marriage contract null and void, similar to sex sin before marriage which also defiles the person (Deuteronomy 24: 1-4).

The New Testament exceptions to the old Law of Moses on the right to divorce are:

1) Fornication or Adultery (as stated above).  We can easily understand this in view of Proverbs 2: 16-20; 6: 24-26; 7: 5-23; 9: 13-18; 11: 22; 30: 20-23 etc.).  “Flee sexual immorality.  Every sin that a man commits is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his (or her) own body(1 Corinthians 6: 18).

2)Willful desertion by one party because of Christ and the Gospel (1 Corinthians 7: 12-15).  This is the case where one spouse (unbeliever) does not share the faith the other has in Christ.  The Christian is not allowed to divorce, because he or she has a sanctifying influence on the other party.  He or she is to pray for, love, and live an exemplary life that is Godly to win him or her to Christ (1 Peter 3: 1, 2).  However, if the unbelieving partner agrees to leave the marriage, then the other Christian partner is freed from the union, and has the right to marry another person (who has not violated God's law), but "only in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 7: 39).

 

SEPARATION

 

Separation is recommended when a couple, after a considerable period of living together, are convinced that their differences have reached violent levels of destructive abuse, or extreme violation of the marriage vows and principles.  It becomes necessary when their incompatibility deepens to the point of a possible divorce, if no definite steps are taken to resolve matters.

This is the situation where the couple find themselves living with constant tension, fighting, abuse, neglect, hurt, and other opposing factors that promote their destruction rather than the growth and progress of a healthy relationship.  In such a case, it may become necessary for them to separate and live apart for a while.

 Such a step will encourage tempers to cool down as they reflect on their lives and meditate on the Lord for repentance, reassurance, strength, direction and answers.  Separation also provides time for healing, and renewal of love and vision

For any form of separation, they must "come together again in order that Satan does not tempt them through lack of self control" (1 Corinthians 7: 5).  This scripture also teaches us that there can be temporary separation allowed by God for spiritual reasons (fasting and prayer, ministry etc.), but should not be done for too long.  The length of the separation depends on the gravity of their problems and the degree of healing necessary to obliterate wounds that will not allow them to live peacefully together. 

In some instances, the extent of abuse and other life-threatening conditions may necessitate the pursuit of legal steps for protection and resolution of some crucial issues in accordance with the laws of the land.  Christians should, however, remember that our greatest Lawgiver and Advocate is in Heaven, and He is the Lord of hosts.  The husband or wife and the family should therefore engage in sincere repentance to begin with.  This must be accompanied by fervent and consistent prayer of faith offered to God our Father in Heaven through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

If, for any reason, the discontented couple decides not to come together again, then it constitutes divorce, in which case they should remain single for the rest of their lives.  "The wife should not leave her husband, but if she does leave, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband, and that the husband should not send his wife away" (1 Corinthians 7: 10, 11). The only other condition for re-marriage is death (if your spouse dies) – 1 Corinthians 7: 39.

 

LIVING AND COPING WITH SEPARATION OR DIVORCE

 

I don’t believe that anyone under the sun entertains the desire from childhood to marry one day and be separated or get divorced. In recent times a few adults with contorted view of family life or bitterness from past hurtful experiences decide to cohabit with another person without any real commitment for marriage. 

Some are plain afraid of the responsibilities involved in decent family life. Such (usually frustrated or disillusioned) individuals enter into their relationships with a “contract minded mentality” rather than a “covenant minded mentality”. Even then, people still hope to hang on tenaciously to their invented loose association, so far as it works for them.

In summary, NOBODY REALLY HAS A DIVORCE OR SEPARATION AS PART OF HIS OR HER FUTURE DREAMS.  IT IS USUALLY UNEXPECTED ---- BY THE COUPLE, PARENTS, FAMILY MEMBERS, CHURCH MEMBERS, FRIENDS, AND ALL.  Only a heartless and senseless enemy will be “praying for it, expecting it, and rejoice over it when it occurs”.

 

Any severance of a love relationship is like amputation of a hand!  But, should the wounded hand bleed forever?   Then all the blood in other areas of the body will be lost, and the inevitable will occur ---- death of the whole person.  There should be calculated, wise, God-centered efforts to get healing, for life to continue.

Whether separated, or divorced, the persons involved must critically and sincerely analyze the root causes of all conflicts, and particularly admit the part each played in creating the problems.  They must genuinely repent, make restitution where necessary (including humble apologies), and use the experience to develop Godliness that will enable them to bear fruit in all future relationships with family members and friends.

 

Other steps that could hasten the healing process after divorce are:

 

1) Decide not to take any path of vengeance.

Embark upon the path of forgiveness, and ask the Lord to help you do so from your heart.  Beloved do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12: 19).  “Do not say ‘I will recompense evil’; Wait for the Lord, and He will save you(Proverbs 20: 22).

 

2) Control your emotions and your tongue.

It is better to talk more to God than to people about issues.  Do the best you can to avoid polluting the minds of family members and friends, especially your children, with reminders about the wrong doings of your mate.  The more you talk about your woes, the more you enlarge your wounds and open them up to higher levels of infection.  You may damage the children for life.  Try to overcome the temptation to campaign and get all the children and every support only for yourself.  You may find yourself as a slanderer before God, and incur His displeasure.  In the multitude of words, sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10: 19).

 

3) Tell yourself and others the truth about every matter involved in the situation.

If you put all the blame on the other person, you will deepen your bitterness and slow down your healing process.  You shall not circulate a false report (Exodus 23: 1).  Buy the truth, and do not sell it (Proverbs 23: 23).

 

4) Open up fully to the Spirit of Jesus Christ to fill and control your life

This should be after genuine repentance of all known sins as already stated, and asking God to forgive all unconscious sins as well.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us(1 John 1: 9, 10).

 

5) Settle down to serious prayer, especially on personal level

Participate in corporate prayer as well.  Get one or two trusted friends to pray along with you as special prayer partners.  Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55: 22).

 

6) Get into active personal Bible study

That will deepen your desire to pray, and open your eyes to see clearly as well, as to what really went wrong, and where God is leading you next. Meditation on God’s word will heal and bless you as you obey what He teaches you. “The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119: 130).  He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions (Psalm 107: 20).  Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.  Unless Your word has been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.  Trouble and anguish have overtaken me, Yet Your commandments are my delight(Psalm 119: 67, 92, 143).

 

7) Rely on God alone to help you forget past hurts and pain, and move forward into a fruitful future.  After Joseph was sold by his own brothers and he entrusted his whole life into God’s Hands in faith and holy living, God turned his affliction into blessing, and he said: “For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house”.  “For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” (Genesis 41: 51, 52).  Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5: 7).

 

8) Be honest and fair with any payments, sharing, or distribution of money and property.

 Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, But a just weight is His delight(Proverbs 11: 1).

Trying to get the lion’s share of material things for yourself without regarding the welfare of others, or deliberately refusing to settle any financial obligations will finally come to hurt you and hurt other innocent ones as well.

 

9) Be an active church member, and engage in profitable and educative, enrichment activities

Participate in fervent worship and be involved in church programs ---- prayer meetings, Bible studies, evangelism etc.  Get into active service and develop a ministry according to your talents and gifts.  All these, especially the connections with other spiritual brethren through close fellowship, will speed up your healing.  They will also enable you to have a clear vision of God’s will for your life, and encourage you to work towards your goals and objectives.  Do much reading, and listen to or view educative and healing messages and movies. Fill your life with useful and refreshing activities by participating in seminars, conferences, gardening, house chores, voluntary services, and visitation of needy people. Determine to be a “wounded healer”. Let us consider how to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together(Hebrews 10: 24, 25). 

 

OUTSIDERS SHOULD NOT WORSEN A BAD SITUATION FOR THE VICTIMS WITH ANY FORM OF PRAYERLESS APPROACH THAT IS WITHOUT LOVE, WISDOM, COMPASSION, HUMILITY, GODLINESS, AND A GOD-FEARING DESIRE TO HELP RESTORE WOUNDED AND DYING SOULS.

 

We recognize, understand, and sympathize with the various complexities involved with different situations for different individuals under varieties of circumstances. 

There should be case-by-case thorough examination of all the facts involved with any particular situation of divorce or separation without prejudice and a judgmental spirit of condemnation, BUT also bearing in mind that the fundamental principles of God cannot be altered in any way to suit any person, because “There is no partiality with God” (Romans 2:11).

 

The best way to stay out of all forms of marital troubles is to start right. Wait upon the Lord in prayer, Bible study, daily obedience to God's word, and holy living without any immoral acts or sexual perversion, until He settles you with the right person in marriage for true worship and effective service. Take time to know the person you are going to marry, be honest and sincere with each other, humbly subject yourself to designated authorities (parents, guardians, family elders, church leaders, city authorities etc.) and learn the basic practical principles of life that you need to become a responsible husband, father, wife, mother, and family member in the future. 

If you missed the opportunity to get yourself trained in the right way from your youth, and worst of all did not start your marriage in the right way, please do not be discouraged. Don’t quickly chicken out with the defeatist attitude of separation or divorce as a solution, without appropriating all the spiritual, social, and other forms of powers and avenues at your disposal, for a change.

Pray for wisdom and endurance, and strengthen your mind and soul by drenching yourself in God’s word and obedience, which will also make your prayers more powerful. For many of us it is not our situations that have to change, but it is our perspective (how we view our marriages or plans to marry) that has to change.

No marriage is problem-free, but there will be normal problems resulting from the fallen nature of man, which God has purposed to use for the building of godly character in His children.  We must hold on firmly to our faith in God and trust in His faithfulness, because His direction goes along with his provision.

 
FAMILY LIFE IN THE HOME

 

UNITY

Husband and wife are to be inseparably united into one flesh by God, till death. (1 Corinthians 7: 39).  In accordance with Genesis 2: 24 and Ephesians 5: 31, father and mother, who represent closest relations, must be left by persons who marry, in order to cleave (firmly bond) to each other in the marriage.  The two become one flesh.  This mainly refers to one mind and spirit.  Your mind represents you. It does not mean that the two people lose their personalities.  They must exhibit complete unity in everything they say and do.  They become united to serve God with a common goal all the days of their life. 

 

No other human being should therefore come between them to disturb or disrupt the union.  In the Book of 1Timothy 5:8 Paul states the importance of providing for family members as well as other relatives, but places special emphasis on immediate family (those of one's own household --- spouse and children).  Parents, brothers and sisters, other extended family members, and in-laws should not be neglected, but none should be placed above one’s spouse and children.

 

 

GOD’S DESIGNATED AUTHORITY OF HEADSHIP IN THE HOME

 

According to Ephesians 5: 22-33 and 1 Corinthians 11: 3, the husband is the Head of his wife and household.  It is a leadership role that goes with spiritual, moral and social responsibilities and does not primarily make the man a boss who occupies a top position with special privileges and the right to order people around. 

The head has eyes to see (insight and vision), ears to hear (listening to God and men), mouth to speak (spokesperson, witnessing), nose to smell (sensing danger, detecting and identifying), and brains to think (studying, knowing, planning, directing). 

Using his sanctified common sense, the husband is to be the Head for the family in all these areas.  Every child of God has the gift of the mind of Christ to be able to know the Lord's direction in daily matters (1 Corinthians 2: 16; Philippians 2: 5).  The mind of Christ in us is activated by the word of God. 

As we study and live in obedience to God by applying His Word prayerfully each day in our lives, we end up walking in God's ways and becoming fruitful. 

It is clear from 1Corinthians 11: 3 that THE MAN IS ABLE TO PERFORM HIS ROLE AS THE HEAD OF THE WOMAN ONLY WHEN HE ALLOWS CHRIST TO BE HIS HEAD (LORD) DAILY.

 

 

WIFE, SUBMIT TO YOUR OWN HUSBAND        

                       

Wives submit to your own husbands as to the Lord (as is fitting in the Lord)” (Ephesians 5: 22; Colossians 3: 18).

The Lord Jesus should therefore be in focus, for the woman to be able to joyfully submit to the man whom God has set as a covering over her with the mindset as submitting to the Lord.  That is why it is very important for the husband to have Jesus as Lord over his life, before he presses for submission from the woman.

However, even if the husband is not a believer, the wife must still submit to him and be blessed.  Her humility, respect, and gentle spirit can win the unsaved husband without even preaching. 

 

Wives likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear” (1 Peter 3: 1, 2). 

 

THE HUSBAND IS CAUTIONED TO LIVE IN A CONSIDEARATE AND LOVING WAY WITH HIS WIFE, WHICH WILL ENABLE THE WOMAN TO LIVE WITH HIM AND SUBMIT WITHOUT FEAR, OTHERWISE GOD WON’T ANSWER HIS PRAYERS.

 

“Sarah obeyed Abraham calling, him Lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.  Husbands, likewise dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers will not be hindered” (1 Peter 3: 6, 7).

 

Mutual submission is commanded for all of us towards one another. Husbands and wives must therefore learn to submit to each other in the fear of God irrespective of gender, position, or rights (Ephesians 5: 21).  After that comes the special submission for the wife. 

This is not to be taken as a weakness on the part of the woman, or opportunity for the man to downgrade or trample on her, or deny her of her rights and dignity.  It is God's design to help her be in a position to be loved, respected, honored, adored, cuddled, comforted, nurtured, and treated with tenderness.

Scripture makes it plain that the ultimate qualities of a wife (woman) are brought out in her home in a family setting.  A man's "wife becomes like a fruitful vine within his house" (Psalm 128: 3). 

The husband is therefore obligated to work hard on himself and in his home in order to create the required Spiritual and physical atmosphere for his wife to flourish and be completely fruitful.  His obedience to God’s word which is the key to all these (Psalm 128: 1), will lead his wife to also live in obedience and open the door for God’s favor from Heaven to rest upon their family.

 

 

HUSBAND, LOVE YOUR WIFE

 

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her …. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves his own body” (Ephesians 5: 25, 28). 

Husbands love your wives and don’t be bitter with them” (Colossians 3: 19). 

 

It is clear from scriptures, therefore, that the husband is commanded by God to love his wife.  Such love should be comparable to the degree Christ loves the Church (His body), implying that the man must be ready to die for the woman just as Christ did for the Church.  I have often said that if you are not ready to die for your wife as a man, then do not marry.

 

In summary, the love of a husband for a wife must be sacrificial, and should not depend on what he is receiving from the woman, although her responses will stimulate him to love her more.  In this way, he will teach his wife what true love is, be like God, and be a good leader for the family.  As already explained, the man must sacrificially love and treat her with kindness in such a way that she submits to his God-given authority without fear for unity, order, and the smooth running of the home.

Both husband and wife need humility, fear of God, and maturity to receive the love, respect, and sacrifices offered by each other.

 

 

CHILDREN OBEY YOUR PARENTS

 

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  ‘Honor your father and mother’, which is the first commandment with a promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6: 1-3).

 “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord” (Colossians 3: 20).

 

Children are therefore commanded by God and expected by society to submit to the authority and training of their parents. Their blessings from God are fundamentally dependent upon such obedience, especially for long life that is satisfying and pleasing to God. 

It was an essential part of the 10 commandments for Israel (Exodus 20:12). 

Everyone seems to have the notion that children are to obey their parents only when they live with them before marriage. 

In my opinion, there are three stages of obedience for children in relation to their parents:

 

1)      Obeying your parents when you are single, living with them, and submitting directly to their authority in their home.

2)      Obeying your parents after you marry, and submitting to their counsel, as you consult them from time to time.

3)      Obeying your parents when they are old, and submitting to the responsibility of taking care of their needs.

 

PARENTING

 

Parenting is the process of bringing up (raising children) by the practical application of God’s word and godly instruction.  I have been advocating that we consider adding the phrase: “RAISING FUTURE ADULTS” to the concept of raising children.  This is because I notice “many adults with the spirits of children”, old in age or married, but still behaving as infants.  Their bodies are old but their spirits are tragically childish and immature.  They easily grumble and throw tantrums at the appearance of anything they dislike (right or wrong), and have such thin endurance that they break down at the onset of the slightest difficulty. Thus, they become problems for their spouses and family members.

 Parents must train their children with the aim that they are going to live as adults with other people one day, on their own, without Dad and Mum around

 

The setting of good example through Godly living in the fear of the Lord is the most powerful tool parents have in their storehouse, to train their children. 

You educate by giving facts, but you train by giving instructions and being an example at the same time to people, especially children. 

 

It is said that: “Children watch what you do, so watch what you do.”

 

While children are commanded to obey, parents on the other hand, particularly fathers, are strongly admonished to use wisdom and love to treat their children gently, otherwise they provoke them to anger and build discouragement in them.  The devil will take advantage of such a situation and tempt them to develop a spirit of stubbornness, disobedience, and mediocrity.

 

Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6: 4).

 “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged” (Colossians 3: 21). 

 

Every father is to give the first impressions to his children about the nature of God our Father.  “As a father pities His children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him.  For he knows our frame; He remembers we are dust.” (Psalm 103: 13, 14). 

Any good father will make time to interact with his children and family, and know each member of the household well.  He will then love his wife with additional affection, and train her to team up with him to train the children

It takes humility and wisdom to bring oneself to the level of other people, understand them, and be of maximum blessing to them.

 

Parents must make the time to teach the fear of God and God's ways to their children.  They should do so by using scriptural lessons as the foundation (daily devotions, Bible studies, applying scripture to various situations for solutions, involvement in Christian service and Christian activities etc.). 

They must combine these with teachings on social issues, etiquette, health, and other essentials necessary for good family life.  God intends that children should succeed their parents in whatever God gave them to do to extend his kingdom, after the parents are dead.  Parents must therefore teach their children to work hard, give and accept love and forgiveness, and seriously learn to take after their parents and elders.

 

Children must be taught to cultivate a strong sense of responsibility. They must learn to develop all their talents and gifts for productivity that benefits society and glorifies God.  They must be taught to take full responsibility for their actions. Children need love and nurturing by their parents in order to absorb their godly instruction.  They must be taught to be responsible church members and be actively involved in Christian service as their parents.

 

The love a father has for the mother of his children becomes a foundation for love for his children, and an excellent example for them.  At all stages of growth in the family life, father and mother must let their children know that they are united in deep love for each other, and that even their own children cannot divide them. 

 

Since children are very impressionable, and learn more by what they see than what they hear, parents must lead and teach them by example through their fear of God and obedience to God's word.                    

 

 

FORGIVENESS AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION

 

            It is NOT possible to build any marriage, home, or family, and even any relationship, without developing an art of conflict resolution and remediation, and allowing the important element of forgiveness to play a principal role.

God came down in the form of Jesus Christ to forgive us of our sins against Him, demonstrate the importance and act of forgiveness, and teach us how to forgive.

The first thing Jesus did on the cross was to pray, and it was a prayer of forgiveness. He entreated: “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Apart from consistent personal holiness and the effort to dwell in peace with others which we are to strive for (Hebrews 12:14), forgiveness is one of the great virtues that very human being pursues but finds it extremely hard to achieve consistently.

 

We must take note of the fact that:

 

1)      Many of us can live for years with a spirit of un-forgiveness and hold grudges that literally consume us and eat away every ounce of our joy and inner peace.

2)      Some people can develop several illnesses (nervous disorders, ulcers, mental derangement, chronic bitterness, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, depression, gloomy moods etc.) from bitterness of heart, anger, and burning hurts that brew from the inability to forgive offences, and which they can carry even to the grave.

3)      Un-forgiveness is a major cause of marital separation and divorce.

4)      Some people enter into new relationships and ruin them with deep-seated un-forgiveness of past offences of old relationships.

5)      In every relationship, especially marriage and family life, forgiveness helps friends, couples, and homes to overcome their pain and disappointments of the past that block healing and restoration in the relationship, and enable them to deal properly with wounds that resulted from past hurts.

 

 

CONFLICTS IN RELATIONSHIPS AND FRIENDSHIPS

 

Conflicts are part of all relationships. Conflicts occur when two or more characters “{strike together”, or when competition (of ideas, preferences, superiority etc.) occurs, or opposing actions confront each other. “Iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17), and you therefore create friction to make things sharp.

If you fail to manage it, that is when you get the problem. Recognizing, admitting, and resolving conflicts, comprise essential building blocks of authentic relationships and friendships.

Relationship can be defined as: the state of connection and interaction between two or more people.

I see a friend as: someone in a close relationship with me, who knows all about me, but loves me all the same, and is always ready to help me, and will never leave me, no matter the circumstances.

 

God blesses unity and not just friendship of any kind. The anointing of God will not be experienced without unity in the marriage, fellowship, organization, or any kind of relationship, if conflicts and disunity rather prevail. We must therefore learn how to handle conflicts.

 

Unresolved conflicts build walls of:

 

1)      Insecurity

2)      Rejection

3)      Inferiority

 

When a conflict arises:

 

1)      Don’t just ignore it

2)      Decide to deal with it.

3)      Learn how to deal with it properly and completely.

 

In Mathew 18:15-17, Jesus emphatically tells us to deal with conflicts, and teaches us how to approach things. The truth is that if you don’t deal with it right, you are bound to deal with it wrong. Because we are not naturally wired to enjoy pain, you will tell others about your pain for more pain and problems to develop.

 

You should consider 4 important elements in dealing with conflicts:

 

1)      Humility --- deal with it humbly.

2)      Dependability --- you must be a dependable person with the love and genuine concern to resolve matters very well and bring peace.

3)      Vulnerability --- you must admit that we are all human who are prone to err, and you must also be aware that you are putting your life on the line to possibly get hurt or suffer in the process of making peace, just as Jesus suffered and died to make peace.

4)      Accountability --- you must make all parties involved take personal responsibilities for their actions and motives (intended and unintended consequences).

 

How To Deal With Conflict

 

1)      Avoid condemnation (which always deals with general matters), and focus on specific matters that will rather produce conviction.

2)      Acknowledge that there is a problem --- don’t try to let the other person rather bring out the problem, with a pretense that there is no problem on your side.

3)      Assume personal responsibility --- accept the part you played for the problem to occur; this is a sign of spiritual maturity.

4)      Approach the person privately --- you may bring in a third party only after your unsuccessful private attempt. But do so with wisdom and caution.

NEVER INVOLVE ANY OTHER PERSON IN ANY CONFLICT, WHO IS NOT PART OF THE PROBLEM, OR PART OF THE SOLUTION.

5)      Appeal to the person humbly --- there should be no attitude of arrogance, dominance, aggressiveness, or superiority.

6)      Announce the problem honestly --- don’t be too spiritual or self-righteous about it.

Avoid condemnation (which always deals with general matters), and focus on specific matters that will rather produce conviction. Avoid battle of the wills (who is going to win or give in first).

7)      Aim at reconciliation faithfully --- reconciliation is not achieved at a moment in time, but rather takes time. The bigger the breach, the longer the time it takes to reconcile.

Forgiveness is owed (is a responsibility) on the part of the offended person. The offender owes him or her trust (how to behave in a way that builds trust again in the mind and heart of the one you offended).

 

 

 

The Place of Anger in Relationships

 

Despite the fact that anger is a foundation of conflict and consequently one of the primary hindrances to agreement, we must accept sincere and righteous indignation or anger as a natural, healthy, and vital part of the normal life God designed for mankind. 

Anger is one of the beneficial emotions God created and put in us for our protection, expression of our feelings in support of what is wrong and opposition to what is wrong, and the pursuit of what is excellent. 

After man disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, all the precious and godly emotions that God Almighty freely imparted to us from His nature, were distorted by the sinful nature we acquired.  The emotions of anger, jealousy, pleasure, fear etc. were tainted with iniquity, became influenced by the Devil and the sinful flesh, and became carnal and satanic agents that now fight the Divine plans of God for mankind.

 

Some biblical examples of godly passions of anger, jealousy, fear, and pleasure are:

 

1) God Himself gets angry at sin, is jealous over His people and heritage, delights in good pleasure for us, and expects us to fear (reverence) Him.

“For I, the Lord your God, I am a jealous God, visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments” (Exodus 20:5, 6).

 

2) After establishing the church in Corinth, Paul the Apostle wrote to tell them: “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy” (2 Corinthians 11:2). 

 

3) David believed and expressed this truth about God’s balance of holy anger and mercy: “For His anger is but for a moment, but His favor is for a lifetime” (Psalm 30:5).  “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy” (Psalm 103:8). 

 

4) It was written about the Lord that: “Jesus looked around at them (Pharisees) with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts” (Mark 3:5). 

 

5) We are commanded and admonished to fear (reverence) God.  “The fear of Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10).  “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).  David ascribed to God: “In Your Presence is fullness of joy; at your right Hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16: 11). 

 

True jealousy, anger, fear, and pleasure plus associated emotions and their holy expressions are found in God.  In Christ, all these emotional attributes are properly channeled for fruitfulness and godliness.

We are therefore commanded: “Be angry, and (but) DO NOT sin; DO NOT let the sun go down on your anger (do net let it stay overnight without dealing with it)” (Ephesians 4:26).  We should not therefore suppress or repress anger in the home and in our relationships, or even in our church interactions, in a hypocritical, pretentious and carnal way. 

 

If married couples, Church leaders, business executives, and political leaders have always been honest with their approvals and disapprovals, and were offered the right atmosphere and opportunity to express their anger or discontent in acceptable manner, most divorces, family tragedies, Church breakups, business collapses, and political setbacks could have been prevented.  Most problems between stepchildren and stepparents would have been solved, and many children would have developed better relationships with their parents. 

 

Some fathers and mothers become perfectly aware of the building resentment in their homes, but simply refuse to do anything about the mounting anger and discontent until things get out of hand.  Under those conditions people sink into despair and degradation or become hardened and are driven into lifestyles that they originally never intended to develop.

 

We can be peacemakers if we observe the following:

 

1)      When we feel offended, we should honestly admit that we are displeased or angry, when confronted, for the truth to come out and the matter bothering us to be resolved in love and peace.

2)       When you sense or observe resentment and anger in a companion, you should also confront the person in love, with genuine desire to be a peacemaker.

3)       You should not become a person with malice who seeks to investigate what is in people’s hearts in order to get weapons to use against them.

4)      We should do the best we can to make people feel free to interact with us, in order not to create an atmosphere of fear, threats, intimidation, or competition that silence people and force them to keep all their disapprovals and anger in them no matter how they are treated.

5)       If you have been helpful to your spouse, family member, in-law, friend, Christian brother or sister, it is not right to use your kindness to control the person.   Do not cause the one to feel so obliged to you that you can mistreat the individual and expect him or her to swallow every abuse, cheating, foolishness, laziness, pride, disrespect, deception, infidelity, selfishness, or unloving attitude of yours without ever feeling offended and angry.

6)       We need to train ourselves for the appropriate exposure to healthy expression of disapproval and anger from people close to us, or who receive our words and are influenced by our attitudes far and near.   Some of them will offer us constructive criticism that will be helpful to us.  We need such exposure to help organize our lives properly, learn how to improve upon our treatment of people, and deepen our love and understanding in our relationships.

7)      We have to prayerful, wisely, and thoughtfully express our disapproval as humbly as possible WHEN IT IS NECESSARY TO DO SO.

8)       Our companions should also give us listening ears that hear our voices as well as our hearts, and give us the right responses for us to resolve all matters properly and completely.  We then take time to dialogue and negotiate appropriately, and help everyone on the team or in the relationship to gain the desired understanding for us to move on progressively.

9)       If we bottle up anger in us for too long, we sink into deed-seated resentment and bitterness, or develop self-pity, depression, and silence that cut off fellowship with those around us.  We can also accumulate piles of anger or cause our anger to become inflated till we explode in all directions for the burning debris to fall and harm everyone in contact with us.

10)  We should, however, know that we are not to be immature and sensitive or without endurance in a disturbing way, always expressing anger at every little thing, and foolishly blowing out our anger in a destructive manner in public and in private. 

 

Anger and foolishness are always closely linked together.  “Do not hasten in your spirit (be quick) to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom (hearts) of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9). 

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath (anger); for the wrath (anger) of man does not produce (work) the righteousness of God” (James 1:19, 20).  

 

The “destructive anger of man” that we possess can become transformed after receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord.  After that it is our duty to allow our temperament to be controlled and directed by God’s Word and the Holy Spirit, in order for our anger to become “righteous indignation” against what is wrong.  The results of our sanctified emotions work in favor of the righteousness of God for the extension of His Kingdom.

 

FORGIVING YOURSELF

 

The unwillingness and inability to forgive oneself after committing an offence, especially a grievous sin, constitutes one of the most powerful agents that drain spiritual, moral, mental, and even physical strength from us, even from committed Christians who cannot consistently live in obedience and accept God’s promise of forgiveness by faith.

The devil uses guilt as a major tool to accuse and condemn you, discourage you from drawing near to God for fellowship and joy, and prevents you from believing God and accepting who you are in Christ in order to be fruitful and successful.

Degrading and devastating sins condemned so much by the public and the church like fornication, adultery, different forms of sex perversion, pornography, abortion, un-biblical divorce, marital or child abuse, murder, robbery, financial dishonesty, forgery, bribery etc. are high on the list of sins we commit and cannot easily forgive ourselves. Other offences pertaining to lies, deceit, impersonation, slander, gossip, defamation of someone’s character, and addictions of various kinds, can put constant guilt in the consciences of people as well.

In fact, any kind of offence can be troubling for anyone with a tender and sensitive spirit, and the devil in conjunction with the world, can take any lapse, omission, or violation to hammer on the person’s mind and spirit, and make him or her feel constantly guilty.

 

Some facts you need to know, and practical steps necessary to deal with personal offences are:

 

1)      Admit that you are human, and therefore vulnerable to fall into disobedience and exhibition of weaknesses of the flesh at anytime.

2)      You should not therefore believe yourself so much as a powerful or extra mature and experienced man or woman of God, or someone who loves your spouse so dearly, or so disciplined and knowledgeable about relationships, such that if you, for example, catch yourself shouting at or being mean to your spouse, child, or family member, you behave as if you are an angel who has sinned.

3)      You have no ability to deal with any sin or weakness on your own without the help of God.

Therefore you should never at anytime trust yourself to deal with any sin or weakness in your own strength (Proverbs 3: 5, 6).

4)      It does not, however, mean that you should not play your human part of watching, keeping away from sources of trouble, and exercising normal discipline and wisdom in using the natural abilities God has already given you for obedience and safety. Never expect God to give you what you must obtain by obedience.

5)      God has provided the solution to every human sin and weakness. All of our iniquities, transgressions, disobedience, omission, and weakness has been atoned for and remedied through the death and resurrection of God’s Son Jesus Christ. Your victory begins when you become born again. You must confess your sins, repent, and accept Jesus into your heart (center of your soul) as your Saviour by faith, which makes you a true son of God. This is the starting point to receive God’s power into your life to deal with your sins and weaknesses, and develop a spirit of forgiveness. Jesus must be Lord of your life. After being saved, you must take positive steps to make the Spirit of Jesus (the Holy Spirit) become Lord over your life, by reading, studying, meditating on, obeying, and applying God’s word in your daily life in order to grow into the likeness of Christ.

6)      Learn to forgive yourself.

7)      Your continuous strength and victory in your Christian walk, marriage, family, and general success in life, depends a lot on how you continue to live with a clear conscience that has no haunting guilt of any past offences.

 

You can do this by knowing, understanding, and applying the following truths:

 

a)      God’s true character, and who He really is: loving, caring, merciful, forgiving, kind, almighty, redeemer, all-powerful, eternal etc. (1 John 4:7, 8; Psalm 130:4; Daniel 9:9).

b)      God (Jesus) never changes (Hebrews 13:8), and is eternally true, honest, and sincere.

God’s word and God’s promises can be fully trusted at all times.

c)      God never lies (Hebrews 6:18).

d)     God has promised to forgive all the sins of anyone who repents and comes to Him by faith through Jesus Christ, and establishes a father-son relationship with Him (Mathew 9:2; Acts 5:31; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; Acts 13:38; Acts 26:18).

e)      God can be trusted to continue a cleansing and sanctification process in the life of all His sons and daughters who readily confess their faults and offences to Him daily as they grow in the Lord (1 John 1:9).

f)       You must meditate on God’s word daily, control your thoughts and actions with scripture, live in obedience, pray constantly, and depend on God’s promises to walk by faith and live in a spirit of constant forgiveness that will give you boldness and confidence to constantly approach God and receive His power to bear fruit in your family life and all of your affairs to God’s glory (Psalm 119: 11; Joshua 1:8).

 

Remind yourself of important promises of God’s forgiveness, such as: 1 John 1:9 & Psalm 103:12.

 

FORGIVING OTHERS

 

God has warned us that if we do not forgive others from our hearts, he will not forgive us when we sin against Him (Mathew 6:12, 15; Mathew 18:35; Mark 11:25, 26). The act of un-forgiveness is itself an act of sin.

            There is a strong biblical basis why we must do our best to forgive our spouses, children, parents, brothers, sisters, other relatives, and friends who violate or offend us, no matter the nature and magnitude of the offence. We know that the conditions differ (severe or mild), and several situations arise where the crime or evil that is committed is so grave that the damages cannot be repaired.

Examples of grave offences that eat very deep into us and make it extremely difficult to exercise forgiveness are: a beloved fiancee or spouse whom you served and sacrificed so much for, but who became very unfaithful to you, violated or abused you, and later abandoned you for someone else.

Or, someone you trusted with your precious money, business, property, position, or ministry, but who squandered and devastated your money and resources, betrayed the trust, and destroyed your legacy. But, that does not mean the offence should not be forgiven in our hearts, even if the one committed murder or had to be imprisoned in the process.

 

 
FORGIVE AND FORGET

 

Forgiving and forgetting an offence does not really mean that the offence would never come into your mind again, after you have made the effort to forgive the offender. It means that you open your heart for the power of God and application of scripture to destroy the poison of the offence such that even if it comes into your mind at anytime, it cannot have any negative effect on you and hold you in bondage because the grace of God and your constant practice of love have neutralized the original poison and pain that was created.

 

We must honestly and freely forgive the offences of others, develop a spirit of forgiveness, and enjoy living a life of forgiveness because:

 

1) We have experienced God’s forgiveness.

God has forgiven us through Jesus Christ, and paid a great price of His own life to redeem us freely,   which should give us cause to develop mercy, kindness, and compassion for others (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 2: 13).

2) God commands us to forgive offences.

Living in un-forgiveness means living in disobedience to God and transgressing one of His holy commands (Luke 6:37; Ephesians 4: 31, 32).

3) God will not forgive us if we refuse to forgive others.

We rob ourselves of God’s forgiveness for our offences against Him, because He has warned us that    if we do not forgive others, he will not forgive us (Mathew 6:15).

4) Forgiveness is liberating.

Forgiveness sets us free from the bondage of holding grudges that breed bitterness, anger, frustration, pain, malice, unkindness, evil thoughts, gossip, slander, and even wickedness that sap our energies, rob us of our joy, destroy our peace, and disturbs our focus in life. The offender also feels liberated when we make him or her know that we have forgiven the offence, and lifts the burden of guilt and any sorrow or self-pity from him or her (2 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 4:32).

5) Forgiveness enables us to experience and produce the fruit of the Spirit.

Forgiveness opens the door for God’s light to destroy the darkness of the devil in our lives, which consequently creates the path for God’s love, joy, peace, and all the fruit of the Spirit to be manifested in our lives.

6)  Forgiveness builds godliness in us.

Forgiveness is a fundamental character of God that accompanies God’s love that caused Him to give us His only begotten Son Jesus to die for us, in order to forgive us of our sins and establish a relationship with us. Constant forgiveness therefore causes us to grow into the likeness of God as we allow the Spirit of God to develop more of God’s character in us in our marriages, family lives, friendships, ministries, business affairs, and all of our relationships. Forgiveness is a discipline that requires wisdom, vigilance, patience, and diligence, and therefore contributes in building discipline in our lives, and enables us to become more responsible towards people.

7) Forgiveness empowers us.

A life of forgiveness opens the door for God’s power to fill us for a life of holiness, authority over the devil, and true service. Anybody who nurses and harbours an un-forgiving spirit is a spiritually (and sometimes even physically) weak person. True forgiveness emboldens a person in any relationship to proceed freely with his or her activities without inner hindrances of bitterness and resentment in the heart, spirit, and mind.

8) Forgiveness gives us respect, honour, and integrity.

People have lesser respect for a forgiving individual, than someone who is quick to revenge, hold  grudges, resent, confront, show disapproval, and get even with anyone who offends him or her. Forgiveness goes along with mercy, kindness, gentleness, love, sincerity, open-heartedness, transparency, and cooperation, which are virtues that attract people to the possessors of such excellent qualities, and wins a lot of respect from their admirers (Ephesians 4:32).

9) Forgiveness protects us.

Since God loves forgiveness, and it is also part of God’s basic character, a life of forgiveness draws a constant flow of God’s divine and protective Presence into the life of a forgiving Christian. Forgiveness also saves us from drifting into trouble with any bitter or vengeful remarks and slander, or yielding to any temptation to indulge in malicious acts that can land us in danger, offend God, and get us into the grips of demonic forces.

10)Forgiveness builds fellowship and relationships.

Is there any factor that spices, flavours, energizes, defines, and gives true meaning to true fellowship and productive relationships than forgiveness? We know that love is the fundamental glue that bonds people together, but it is impossible to allow love to operate if forgiveness does not constantly make us forgive offences of the past and present, push them behind, and continue to love one another. Un-forgiveness for the offence committed against you by a parent, relative, or close friend of someone could spill over and cause you to extend the bitterness and grudge towards someone who was close with the one who originally offended you, even when the one is dead.

A person nursing a hurt and a grudge can infect anyone who is close, a whole family, and even the surrounding atmosphere with a dark and gloomy spirit of bitterness, vengeance, the poison of negative words and criticisms, and a spirit of unhappiness.

A spouse or fiancée with a spirit of un-forgiveness cannot enjoy his or her marriage or relationship because he or she cannot love and appreciate the husband, wife or friend as a gift from a loving and wise God.

11)Forgiveness is an act of worship.

Every act of forgiveness is also an act or worship, because every act of obedience is an act of worship, and God requires us to obey His command to forgive. God defines our worship as our lifestyle of dedication and obedience that enables us to present ourselves as living sacrifices to God daily on an altar of worship (Romans 12:1, 2).

 

 

 

The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the just” (Prov. 3:33)

The house of the righteous will stand” (Prov. 12: 7).