In his letter to the church at Ephesus, the Apostle Paul writes, “Let all bitterness and
wrath, and anger, and clamor and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice
Most of us will agree high school is a high water-mark in the progression of our lives.
As a student studies, encounters social relationships and participates in sports they are
better prepared to become productive citizens, but an immature emotional student
cripples their goal of acquiring significant growth. Petty rivalries between students lead to
the development of irrational conflict. It creates what I would call the high school blues.
High School most certainly is a time when individual personalities can clash. For
example, on a high school football team, two young players compete for the highly sought
after quarterback position; however, only one player can win the prize. The
the announcement of a winner can have negative results as emotions arise from the youth
who becomes angry and jealous of his rival.
Another example is that of two female students with an infatuation of the same young
man. He shows little interest to either one of them and conflict finds its way into the lives
of the three.
Unresolved issues allow anger and negative emotions to develop, that inhibits the
ability to forgive. Without forgiveness, unforgiveness turns into emotional stress. An
individual can best achieve spiritual growth when they are willing to face their challenges.
It may not be comfortable to stand before one with whom you have a problem and ask for
forgiveness, but trying to avoid the pain by walking away makes you the loser.
We struggle with forgiveness because we want to avoid pain, but in this season of the
The Christian year, it is helpful if we remember that Jesus not only died on a cross, he
embraced His divine objective by carrying his cross to the place of his crucifixion, and
then He died on the cross. Christians believe Jesus resurrected from the dead. I think the
same Holy Spirit that resurrected Jesus can empower you and me to rise above petty
issues that otherwise would hold us shackled to emotional, psychological and sociological
Twenty or thirty perhaps even forty years from now, if one’s anger has not subsided
and forgiveness remains unaccounted for, the venom of unforgiveness can reap havoc
and destruction to anyone who refuses to forgive. Unforgiveness is dangerous because of the
the person who welcomes unforgiveness prevents themselves from fully developing into the
person God desires for them to become.
Conflict arises from opposing agendas. Several years ago, when my daughters were
little girls, I carried one of them to the Pediatrician to be treated for a severe Cold. At
that time, the doctor’s office had toys on the floor in the waiting area, and though sick
some of the children tried playing with these toys. I watched as two children had to find a
way to avoid selfishness as they played with these toys. I don’t know how they did it, but
the children worked it out. They resolved their differences without intervention from
adults. The Bible says “Out of the mouth of babes, and sucklings hast thou ordained
strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger
It is unfortunate, but some of us–who are very grown, have not found the ability to
offer forgiveness. Instead, some hold on to old stuff for so many years that have gone
but in essence, this holding on causes us to hold ourselves in captivity. Full maturity
comes when we can relate such juvenile behavior in contrast to the words Paul wrote in
his letter to the church of Ephesus and “Let all bitterness and wrath, and anger, and
clamor and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice (Ephesian 4:31).”
Have you witnessed behavior like this? Was it a friend who won’t come to the Reunion
because of an incident in the 8th grade? Was it you? Life is too short to be controlled by