It is tempting to believe that our intentions are what matter most in relationships. If we don’t intend to hurt people or let them down–-and most of us likely don’t–-then any hurt feelings must result from a misunderstanding.
Even unintended hurt still hurts. When we focus on setting the record straight and defending ourselves, we frame others’ pain as their misunderstanding. But what if we truly believed the promise of God to meet our repentance with grace? Could we dare to turn fully to our neighbors, to set aside our need to justify ourselves and to consider things from their perspective rather than our own?
True repentance is not about building ourselves up or tearing ourselves down, but about putting ourselves in the right context: as members of the body of Christ, intimately connected to the rest of the body.
This message is excerpted from the Bible study “Turning to others” by Meghan Johnston Aelabouni in the October issue of Gather magazine.
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