How to have more peaceful relationships

When Narvaez, the Spanish explorer, lay dying, his father-confessor asked him whether he had forgiven all his enemies. Narvaez looked astonished

and said, “Father, I have no enemies, I have shot them all.”

Well that’s one way to deal with your problems – but not one that’s recommended.

It seems we don’t go too many days without hearing about another violent incident inflicted by people who are angry or bear a grudge against someone. Much of it is personal and plays out in homes or small communities. The people affected are forever changed. In other cases the violence is more wide spread and has universal implications, like the bombing in the Pakistani airport this week.

Beyond praying for the soon return of Christ I sometimes wonder what can be done to help this world. Rather than thinking on a global scale we need to consider our own relationships and what we allow to dwell in our spirits. Paul gives us good advice in Colossians 3 when he says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (3:13)

Here’s the solution for having more peaceful relationships in our world. It starts with you and me. Rather than holding onto our grievances and building up a bank of complaints against others, we have to learn to forgive. Sure, this isn’t always easy. Some issues are big and need to be handled with the help of others. Our goal should be that we learn to release others from our debt. This is only possible when we reflect on the forgiveness we have received from Christ.

I’m shaken some days at the violent world we live in. However, I have to own my feelings and frustrations, learning to forgive others as Christ forgave me.

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