3 Keys to Overcoming Unforgiveness in Ministry

“Remember this, Pastor: When you get things right with God, you will truly make things right with others.”

Churches are filled with all kinds of people. This presents numerous challenges for each pastor. When the apostle Paul addressed the church at Corinth, it was evident that the church was struggling with their interpersonal relationships.

They were called to unity compelled by the dynamic of love. Therefore, Paul writes about this power of love in 1 Cor. 13:4-8. From this incredible section of Scripture written to the church for the church, I want to lift up one phrase that every minister needs to live by.

“… does not keep a record of wrongs.” (1 Cor. 13:5)

This strong statement is compelling. It should become a priority for every relationship we have on this earth: Does not keep a record of wrongs. When we do not live by this phrase, we put up or create a block in our relationships, closing off our hearts to one another.

This phrase is translated literally: “Love does not count up wrongdoing.”

From nearly-wed to newlywed to long-time wed, we must learn to live by this phrase: “Does not keep a record of wrongs.” Regardless of generation, vocation or religion, this is the secret to living a strong and meaningful life.

While love does not count up wrongdoing, it is also never rude, impatient, negative, and does not rejoice when someone else sins. The secret to this is discovered when we forgive.

What does it mean to forgive? Forgiving someone means we wipe the slate clean, releasing it completely.

Only Jesus’ love and your love for others lead you to forgive. Forgiveness is miraculous. It’s supernatural!

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Unforgiveness is an internal problem we experience personally. It is not just about someone else; it is also about you.

Love and unforgiveness cannot coexist.

A strained relationship is one in need of forgiveness. Therefore, forgive and love. Remember this one phrase that each minister needs to live by: “… does not keep a record of wrongs.”

Pastor, how do we live this out? Pastor’s wife, how do we live this out? Let me show you how we can do this.

Here are three keys to healing unforgiveness.

1. Unforgiveness keeps a list of wrongdoings; but love keeps no lists.

Pastor, refuse to keep a list of people who are on your bad side.

2. Unforgiveness is judgmental; but love is merciful and graceful.

Pastor, refuse to become judgmental and filled with bitterness. Take the initiative and seek forgiveness. Love compels us to do the right thing in the right way toward all people.

3. Unforgiveness holds on to the wrong; but love releases all wrongs.

Pastor, determine now that you will be a daily forgiver. Regardless of what someone has done to you, let it go. Forgive. A choice not to release and forgive is a choice of bitterness and destruction. Never let anyone outside of your circle of love.

Remember this, Pastor: When you get things right with God, you will truly make things right with others.

Often a pastor becomes a target, being attacked by someone else. It may help you to also remember: Hurt people hurt people. Forgiven people forgive people.

We are a forgiven people; therefore, always forgive.

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Remember, there is one phrase every minister needs to live by and it is this phrase: Love… does not keep a record of wrongs.

This will lead you to a free and joyful life and ministry.

Dr. Ronnie Floyd is the senior pastor of Cross Church in Springdale, Arkansas, immediate past president of the Southern Baptist Convention and founder of the Cross Church School of Ministry. This article was originally published on Floyd’s blog at RonnieFloyd.com.