We live in a world full of dysfunction. Estrangement runs rampant among the citizens of this fallen society. And nowhere is it felt more acutely than within the family. All of us have seen or experienced intense conflict within marriages, between parents and children, and among extended family members.
But we shouldn’t be surprised. Jesus warned us to expect that kind of division:
From now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. (Luke 12:52–53)
Jesus was testifying to the reality of life in a sin-filled world—especially the strife that can result in a household comprised of believers and unbelievers. But even families made up entirely of faithful Christians can expect their share of conflict. Man’s fallen nature—and even its lingering effects in believers—will always default to selfishness, pride, greed, envy, and every other sin that promotes strife.
Nonetheless, a household of peace and unity is possible in this fallen world for believers who apply biblical truth in their homes. In his sermon “The Key to Maintaining Family Unity,” John MacArthur zeroes in on the biblical key to cultivating a sanctuary of harmony in your home: godly forgiveness.
It’s hard to destroy a relationship if you continually forgive every offense. In Colossians 3:13 Paul says, “Bearing with one another and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” It is godlike to forgive.
Beloved, in your marriage you are headed for major disaster if you continually accumulate hostility because of offenses, if you continue to allow bitterness to develop. But whenever there’s an offense and immediate forgiveness, it’s disappearing, it’s gone. That’s the key to any relationship. Children, the same toward your parents. Parents, the same toward your children. Brother and sister, brother and brother, sister and sister, it’s the same situation—forgiveness because that is like God. Practice the godlike virtue.
No one would argue against the necessity of forgiveness. But how many of us faithfully practice this kind of aggressive forgiveness?
In “The Key to Maintaining Family Unity,” John provides the biblical perspectives and convictions necessary for forgiveness to become the instinctive response of our hearts, and the spiritual aroma that fills our homes.