A stab, a slap and a kick in the shin all cause pain. A stab can kill in a single plunge. A slap can sting the face, but humiliate the soul. A kick can hurt like crazy, but then pass with a lingering bruise. Hopefully, few of us have felt a dagger; but, more than likely, all of us have felt the slap and kick.
Move beyond the physical stabs, kicks and slaps to those things that emotionally hurt in the same way. The friend that stabs your heart. The office worker that slaps your intentions. The employer that kicks your success. The family member that pinches with a comment. The told secret that jabs your sides. All these hurt.
In the Christian’s life friends, peers at work, and even church members can stab, kick, and slap. The outcome is painful, but it all calls for the same response.
The deep dagger pain needs forgiveness. The slap in the face needs forgiveness. The kick in the emotional shin needs forgiveness. But, there is a problem. We tend to work harder on forgiving the one welding the dagger than we do the one slapping and kicking. For some reason we notice the need to forgive when the wound is outwardly deep and deadly…when the offense is the greatest. We will spend time dealing with the wound and trying to come to peace with the deep cut. But slaps and kicks hurt deeply too and may call for more work toward total forgiveness. These are the actions or opinions from others that cause bitterness to gradually root itself in our souls. It causes a stern stare, a step of avoidance and sometimes words that should have never been spoken. It causes us to grit our teeth and set our jaw when talking about the other person. It causes division and builds walls that keep us from true worship.
It is these small day-to-day injuries that build up and destroy because we decide to live with them rather than deal with them in a godly way. When left unchecked, it is these smaller hurts that bring down businesses, divide churches and destroy families.
There is a noticeable call for forgiving large offenses, but we will never fulfill HIS call to forgiveness unless we forgive ALL by forgiving ALL….Each of these – a stab of the nails, a slap in the face and a kick were present at the cross. Jesus dealt with all offenses – differences of opinion, workplace comments, personality clashes, family discord – all these at the cross. If He can do that FOR us, then what is He asking FROM us in return?