Be sure that no one pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to do what is good for each other and for all people. – 1 Thessalonians 5:15

Facing Up to Our Wrongs

Refusing to take responsibility for the harm you have caused others only leads to further damage. As weeks, months, or years pass, lack of communication, unrelenting anger, and hateful emotional exchanges can all create tremendous anxiety. The threatening atmosphere created by this tension often tempts you to focus on wrongs done to you, rather than taking responsibility for the wrongs you may have committed. So you persist in blaming others because it keeps you from dealing with the painful truth of your sinful behavior. When you’ve harmed someone in the past, you really need to take responsibility for it.

In the Old Testament, this was the case for Jacob upon returning to see his brother Esau. Jacob had come to accept that he had wronged Esau in stealing his birthright. In the process of taking responsibility for his past behavior, he moved from awareness to action. Prior to their reunion, Jacob and Esau’s relationship was ruled by fear. But once Jacob took responsibility for his past, things began to change. When Jacob eventually faced his brother, the two were able to express love for each other even though they both remembered the pain of the past.

Accepting responsibility for wrongdoing can be a frightening thing, because it requires that we face your weaknesses and stop blaming others for your problems. But, you can take courage and instruction to do so through Jacob. Seek God’s help in restoring your relationships.

– Steve Arterburn

Eating words has never given me indigestion. – Sir Winston Churchill