So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved,
put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint
against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Colossians
The goal of biblical counseling is to teach people how to
glorify God through their lives. We do this by teaching, rebuking, correcting,
and training in righteousness.
When relationships have been broken our goal is to see them
through to reconciliation when possible. This we believe is demonstrating the
purpose for which Christ died; to reconcile sinners to God.
To help a counselee biblically deal with a broken
relationship we must help them understand what it means to biblically forgive and
how to do so. Often when a relationship has been severed because of sin one
reason forgiveness is withheld is because they believe the hurt and betrayal
are just too big to get past. In general
people struggle to forgive because they are not clear about what forgiveness
from the heart really is so they look for reasons or make excuses not to
To refuse to forgive will add to the internal misery and woe
you will experience. The unforgiving person is the one who suffers the most. If
you choose not to forgive, I guarantee you will become bitter. If you choose
this path, you may as well know right up front that you are deliberately
enslaving yourself. The sins of bitterness and unforgiveness enslave you and
will ruin your life. You may think that by refusing to forgive the person who
hurt you will “get theirs,” but that is not so. If you refuse to forgive, you
will be the one who suffers even greater misery than you have experienced as a
result of the sin that fractured your relationship in the first place.
You have to understand that your position before God is
exactly level with that of the worst sinner, because the ground is level at the
foot of the cross. There is nothing exceptional about you; we are all sinners
and all in need of God’s grace and mercy. You must choose to forgive on the
basis of what God has forgiven you.
When forgiveness is granted doesn’t mean things go back to
how they were before. It may never be the same again. Hopefully, some changes
have been made in both of you and you are able to be more honest and open with
The majority of our counseling cases involve two believers
who say they are willing to submit to our counsel and say they are willing to
change. You will have to deal biblically
with issues that are, in some cases, long-standing. You have to get at the
roots of the problems that lead to the brokenness in the relationship. Each
issue you bring to the counseling table should be looked at from a biblical
perspective. The goal should be for each of you to individually determine to
give God the glory by how you live your lives. This means confession and
repentance must take place in each individual’s heart.
This process will be a lot of work and at times it may feel impossible
and overwhelming to you. Remember in those moments (or days), that you did not
get into the mess in one day and you most likely won’t climb out of it quickly
either. Something to remember is that
you are in some cases rebuilding an entire relationship and this will take
time. Repentance and forgiveness does not
eliminate the necessity of the passage of time in the healing of your relationship.
You cannot hurry this along, expecting to advance through phases or stages of repair
on a schedule. Depending on what caused the brokenness in the relationship in
the first place there may be many days or months ahead of hard work at the
heart level and the practical level as you both seek to live out the internal
changes God is bringing. For both of
you, this is an intensely personal road to walk upon as you walk along side one
You may already know that you are unable to handle this time
in your life alone. You are not autonomous and you cannot be self-sufficient.
In Christ you are going to have to become God-sufficient. This is a burden you
cannot bear alone.
As you cling to the cross for sufficiency to redeem you, you
must also keep it central in your relationship. Ask the Lord to teach you about
Himself and about who you are to Him. You must direct your thoughts to the Lord
and ask Him to help you to not only endure, but to grow and increase your faith
and trust in Him through this time.