Delete the Trash
I have a program on my computer that does good work. I like it a lot, and it is helpful. However, this program also leaves behind some trash on my hard drive in the form of temporary files. Every so often, I must delete these temporary files so that they do not completely fill up my hard drive. If I forget to do this, then all the other programs on my computer will stop working. So, I invest the time to delete these files to ensure that my computer continues to run smoothly.
Relationships are a lot like this. We value those with whom we have good relationships. We appreciate their friendship and all the good they do for us and for others. Sometimes, however, our friends may say or do something that leaves some “trash” behind. At this point, we have a choice. On the one hand, we can let that “trash” build over time until the relationship stops working. This may affect other relationships as well. On the other hand, we can delete the “trash” as it comes along. This keeps the relationship healthy.
Paul wrote in Colossians 3:12-13, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” The word for forgiveness in this verse means to act favorably toward another by letting go of one’s complaint; it doesn’t require another person to ask our forgiveness. By practicing forgiveness in our relationships, we can delete the “trash” so that it doesn’t become a big problem. When we don’t forgive one another, our relationships stop working, and this creates bigger problems. Let’s be forgiving people!