“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10 NIV)
If you want to stop the conflicts in your life, if you want to get along with other people, then you have to learn to ask forgiveness from God and from those you hurt. James 4:8 says, “Wash your hands ... and purify your hearts” (NIV). Our hands represent our conduct, and our hearts represent our attitude.
Paul is basically saying: Clean up your act. Be sorry for your self-centeredness. It is a big deal when your spouse’s feelings are hurt. Take it seriously. If someone says you hurt him, then you did! It may not be a big deal to you, but it was to him. You must be willing to ask forgiveness.
Think of the person who causes the most conflict in your life. Would you like to begin to resolve the conflict with that person? Are you willing to apologize for your part? Maybe he or she is 95 percent at fault, but your responsibility is to take care of your 5 percent and let God handle the rest.
How humbling would it be for you to say, “I know we’ve had our differences, and I know I haven’t always been thoughtful. A lot of times I’ve thought more about myself than your needs.” It wouldn’t just be humbling; it would be impossible without God’s grace. The only way you’re going to change is to be humble, and the only way to be humble is to ask forgiveness.
The first step is the hardest, but it’s also the most important. It’s humbling, sure, but God gives grace to the humble. Maybe this week you need to write a letter or make a call. Take the first step.
God doesn’t want to keep you down on the ground. James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” The way to honor is humility. I used to think the way to be honored by my wife and my kids was to never admit that I was wrong. I figured if my kids thought I was wrong, they wouldn’t respect me any more. It wasn’t a surprise when I found out they already knew I wasn’t perfect. I found that the way I gained honor before my kids and my wife was to admit I was wrong. If you want to be honored by your husband or wife and the Lord, you must humble yourself.
To stop the fighting, you have to give in to God, get wise to Satan, grow closer to God, and be willing to ask forgiveness.
Talk About It
- Think of the last time you were the recipient of someone’s humble apology. What impact did it have on your relationship with that person and with the Lord?
- Is there someone you need to forgive today? Is there someone you need to go to and ask forgiveness?
- Do you believe that God can restore a relationship that you have given up on? What do you think he wants you to do to help make that happen?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.