It was the first time in many years the church has held a women’s retreat, and Pastor Adam Tyson was thankful that 100 women registered to attend.
Gathered in Solvang, Calif., the women heard Janie speak on the topics of loving when it’s difficult, resolving conflict, and seeking Biblical forgiveness.
When we find it difficult to love others, Janie said, we can remember how unlovely we were when Jesus first loved us. She reminded everyone of 1 John 4:19: “We love because he first loved us.” Janie encouraged the women that resolving conflict is possible because “we have been chosen by God so that we might know what it means to be loved by God and so that we would love both God and others. . . . By studying God’s love for us, we quickly see that reconciling in love is God’s way and that He expects it to be our way as well.”
But she realized, “I was making it difficult for me to love my sister. My sin.”
Loving others isn’t difficult because of others, Katie would hear Janie teach. “The ‘double difficulty’ of loving others is this: [the] difficult people we have to be longsuffering with is the difficult person that resides in each one of us. . . . Repentance is needed before we can love others genuinely and Biblically.”
Saturday morning, the two women quickly mended their relationship.
“Obviously, many of us have hurts and deep cuts that transpire decades—offenses that might seem impossible to quickly resolve,” Katie says. For those more complex conflicts, “Christ offers hope,” she says. “Janie encouraged the women that we can put on an attitude of forgiveness even if the one who sinned against us hasn’t repented. It is only because of the forgiveness that God has given us through the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross that allows us to, in fact, love and forgive others the way He has loved and forgiven us. Ephesians 4:32 says, ‘Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you’” (emphasis Katie’s).
Pointing to Ephesians 4, Janie taught in-depth about resolving conflict in love. “Unity in the church is God’s plan and will for us,” she says. In resolving conflict, it’s important to be honest; keep current; attack the problem, not the person; and act, not react sinfully.
She also wisely instructed that Biblical forgiveness is not forgiving self, forgiving God, forgiving and forgetting, or simply apologizing. “Biblical forgiveness is a promise to not remember the sin—that is, to not hold that sin against the offender.” It’s a promise not to bring it up to them, to others, or to yourself. Janie also cautioned that sometimes people can bear with one another if the offense is petty or unintentional; not every offense needs a confrontation. She says it’s important to consider whether or not an offense has created a break in the relationship. If so, then it is necessary to find resolution.
Janie ended with this challenge: “God will give you the grace; He will enable you to forgive others in an instant like He does for you.”
Katie says, “We can instantly forgive even the most hurtful offences because we understand the enormous weight of sin Jesus took upon Himself for our behalf, and how instantaneously and completely God has forgiven it—how perfectly He has cleaned us whiter than the purest snow.”
- For more on loving one another and other “one anothers” of the Bible, see How Can I Love Those Prickly People? published by Regular Baptist Press.