You Can't Have Peace Until You Learn to Let Go
“Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.” (James 3:17-18, The Message)
With so many people at home more during the pandemic, you might notice you’re a little more sensitive than usual. Maybe you’re quick to point out everything that's wrong in the world or in your home. Maybe you jump on every mistake and error and feel duty-bound to remind people what didn't work. Maybe you’re just overly picky about everything and determined to keep bringing up the past.
This is a stressful season, and it’s understandable that you’ll feel like acting this way at certain times.
But if you want to plant seeds of peace in your relationships, then you won't emphasize other people’s mistakes. You’ll let go of your pride and choose to put someone else’s needs above your own. That’s not easy, even when you’re not under stress! But it is a mark of spiritual maturity when you can let something go for the sake of healthy relationships.
Mercy, the Bible says, is a mark of wisdom. Mercy is giving people what they need, not what they deserve. When somebody stumbles, you don't judge them. You encourage them. Mercy is forgiving and gracious. It’s treating people the way God treats you.
Proverbs 17:9 says, “Love forgets mistakes; nagging about them parts the best of friends” (TLB).
Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross, was reminded by a friend of an especially cruel thing that somebody had done to her years before. Barton acted like she didn’t remember it, and the friend asked, “Don’t you remember?” Her famous reply was, “No, I distinctly remember forgetting it.”
What are you choosing to forget out of love and wisdom? Emphasizing mistakes is not helpful. Mercy is what is helpful and loving.
“Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush your spirit” (Proverbs 15:4 GNT).
The words you say make a difference. Learn to let go of things in the past that are causing friction in your current relationships. Speak life to the people you love.
Talk It Over
What do you need to stop bringing up in a particular relationship so that you can both have peace?
When you choose to let something go, do you think it’s always necessary to tell the other person that you forgive them? Why or why not?
Have you ever been crushed by someone’s cruel words? What will you do today to make sure you are not making someone else feel like that because of what you say?
Premium Resource: Daily Hope Prayer Journal
This devotional © 2020 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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