The lie of Unforgiveness

By:  Kathy Roberts

‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. -Genesis 50:17-21

The sad truth of this life is that people hurt people. However, the awesome truth is God is able to overcome those hurts with His incredible healing power and give us victory over our circumstances; victory over deep unfair hurts that occur in this life or even casual annoyances. Even if it feels impossible to us, we can experience true freedom if we will trust Him and the power of His Holy Spirit to forgive as we have been forgiven. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Joseph was incredibly mistreated by his family and more, but through faith in God he had eyes to see past his circumstances to a greater good. “But what man intended for evil God meant for good”…will you believe that today? Our good, our families good, our friends good, for the good of those witnessing our forgiveness! All by faith in the power of God, not ourselves. Believe there is a STORY for the GLORY of God… with man it’s impossible but with God all things are possible! 

The enemy would have us believe true forgiveness is IMPOSSIBLE, it’s all a LIE, we can’t forgive, we can’t forget,  God can’t use it for good. 

Because I have believed this lie far too many times, I took a moment to jot down all the lies I have believed throughout my life. For me, searching the truth in my heart and then writing it out and facing the lies on paper helped me to recognize their true source, the father of lies.

Lies of Unforgiveness:

Unforgiveness will hurt them and not me.

Unforgiveness will bring me justice and satisfaction- I will teach them through cutting them out or through revenge.

Unforgiveness won’t affect my life I’ll move on someday.

Unforgiveness won’t affect others I love.

Unforgiveness won’t affect my relationships in the future.

Unforgiveness won’t affect my overall spiritual and physical health.

Unforgiveness is not necessary I can live with the hurt. 

Unforgiveness is not really a sin, I am justified. God understands.

Unforgiveness won’t hinder my prayer or intimacy with God.

I would often say to myself, “But they don’t deserve my forgiveness!”; and I was right. None of us DESERVE God’s forgiveness, it’s by the grace of God that we’ve been forgiven  and it is only by the grace of God we can forgive and be free of the LIE unforgiveness. Let us all choose the TRUTH! May we  walk in faith and in freedom; not shackled down by unforgiveness! 

It’s all imperative…

I recently messed up and hurt someone I care about.  Careless words tumbled out of my emotional mouth and caused pain.  Impatient with circumstances of life outside of my control and filled with self seeking pride, I felt it my duty to open my mouth in an effort to quickly insert my foot.  So I did, and can I just tell you my foot tasted terrible for about two days.

Whenever I find myself in this foot in mouth situation,  I first spend some time wallowing in self pity and loathing.  I usually like to follow that up with about 24 hours of silent justification. Silent justification is when I replay the entire situation over and over again mentally in an effort to collect reasons to  personally justify my aforementioned choices.  For the record: This time is never productive or healthy.  After I complete step 1 & 2 of this self assigned cycle, I begin to seek reconciliation.  Reconciliation is an act of humility and because of my pride,  it takes me awhile to move in this direction.

As we study James 5, I am encouraged by the idea of patience and the comparison God makes of this growth to a farmer’s harvest.

Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.

Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!

James 5:  7-9

James’  reminds me that I am going to mess up.  I am going to hurt my fellow man.  I am going to have bad days and good days; days of learning and days of growing.  However, the reality of my imperfection does not give me license to disobey the commands I read in scripture.  As I closely read this passage I can see four imperative statements.  (Imperative simply means “giving an authoritative command”)

Imperative Commands/Statements found in James 5: 7-9:

  1.  Be patient with others and myself.
  2. Anticipate the Lord’s return.
  3. Have courage in Christ Jesus.
  4. Don’t grumble about your brother’s and sisters.

So here I am, disappointed in my choices and ready to experience the peace of reconciliation.  According to what I studied, I have to be patient with myself and others as I experience the growth process.  I need to live as though my Savior will return at any moment.  I need to act in courage because I belong to Christ and I need to lay down my desire to complain about others.

I actively lived out the imperatives.  I decided to be patient with my own growth and accept that I make mistakes. I refocused my mind and heart on my Savior’s return.  I took courage in the fact that my Lord and Savior is Jesus Christ and humbled myself in prayer.  I laid down my right to grumble about worldly frustrations and I went to my friend and said two simple words;  “I’m sorry.”

For the record:  Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Proverbs 16:24.  Plus, they taste much better than my foot.

Praying you have a blessed week while you experience the grace and peace of following the imperatives of Christ.

 

 

Side Note…

By:  Lazarth

So I was sitting in church like always, and Jackie was speaking on a spiritual truth that I have read 20 or 30 times. As my mind was slipping into auto pilot, and my voice was forming the words, “Amen”,   I received a slap in the face from the Holy Spirit; a slap that almost knocked me out of my chair.  Jackie’s words were simple.  There was no misunderstanding due to Greek interpretation.  He spent no extra time explaining the concept due to its simplicity, and yet the Holy spirit was telling me,  “Jason, you don’t understand.”  (Side note: This would be an awesome time for the voice of the Lord to speak to me explaining what I am not understanding; however, no further info was given. In fact, my mind was unusually blank.  Empty.   This may be hard to believe for those who know me, but the blank look on my face does not directly correlate to my mind being blank.

Here is what Jackie said that hit me square between the eyes.  James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble”.  Before you shout amen, take a second to ponder this simple truth.  I, myself, spent two weeks turning this idea over and over in my mind.  First, I turned the sentence into two complete thoughts:   1.  God opposes the proud.  2. God gives grace to the humble.

I took the first thought and placed it in the center of my mind and cleared everything else out. I began by asking some questions.  What does opposition from God look like? The thought scared me a little.  When I have faced oppositions in my past, I have always felt a sense of hope that I would find an answer to the dilemma. Opposition:  I was born with a learning disability.   Answer: Study harder. Opposition:  Chris Simons, the high school quarterback who always seemed to make the starting team, was better than me.  Answer: Practice longer, run faster and when you hit him try to knock him out of his shoes. Opposition:  Money problems.   Answer: Work more or find a new job. Even death can be overcome when you have the right friends, namely Jesus.  However,  God is an obstacle in which there is no hope of overcoming. The Bible verse says:  If God is for me, what  can stand against me? But think of the opposite: If God is against me, what can stop him. I became afraid. mostly because I knew if the Holy Spirit wanted to talk to me about this topic He was addressing my PRIDE.

I started thinking about my personal life and asked the question: How would God’s opposition manifest itself in my daily routine? I imagined fire balls coming from heaven sent to consume me.  Large swarms of locus sent to consume me. Angels with giant swords sent to consume me.  The fires of hell sent to consume me…  All bad outcomes and I guess I am not that imaginative because all I could think of was CONSUMING. In my defense, I was rather hungry at the time, and truth be told, none of those things were happening. Everything is actually going quite well.  I have a great wife and kids. I love my job and I have good friends. No one is sick or in need in my immediate family. Life is good.

Next, I began to consider the characters in the Bible and I realized its usually the ones God loves who seem to get the raw deals. I know God loved Jesus and he suffered.  Then it hit me. The Pharisees were proud and life on the outside looked good for them; however,  Jesus was in opposition with them. How was God’s opposition manifested in their lives? They couldn’t see who Jesus was when He was standing right in front of them.  Even though they saw Him do miracles, their pride stopped them from knowing God and His will.

My pride has stopped me from seeing so many awesome things God is doing and frankly I don’t want to miss any more.  If I stop drawing near to my selfish pride and draw near to God verse eight in chapter four of James says he will draw near to me. What a gift. Then God will give grace. Grace to know Jesus when he is standing in front of you and me.  Grace to see his plan in our lives. Grace to allow us to be part of that awesome plan and grace to be counted as His children.   I know we throw the words amazing grace around all the time, but there is no other word I can think of that describes His grace better than amazing.

Earlier I asked the question:  “If God is against me, who could stop him?” The answer, only God himself.  It’s only God’s mercy that is stronger than God’s opposition and the crazy part is I can invoke God’s mercy through my humility by belief in Christ Jesus.

Life is too short not to see Christ, and his plan for our lives.   Let us take pride out of the church. There is no place for it. Let’s take pride out of our hearts as well.  Jesus doesn’t like to share.

Side note: Getting right with God when the Holy Spirit slaps you is easier then you might think.

step 1:                Cry.

step 2:                Get on knees.

step 3:                  Repeat step 1.

step  4:                 Repent.

step  5:                 Repeat step 1.

step 6:                  Be healed.

step  7:                 Repeat step 1, with thanksgiving this time.

step  8:                 Get up and keep following Jesus!

step 9:                   Repeat as needed

 

Thank you God for all you have done for me a sinner. Praise God for His mercy endures forever……….

Still true today…

As I woke up Monday morning to the news of the tragedy in Las Vegas, I  felt a sense of hopelessness and a weight of despair for both our nation and our world.  Words cannot express the heaviness of my heart in the wake of this tragedy, so I will not try to explain the weight, as I know you feel it too.

Instead, I will do the only thing a believer can do when faced with the reality of the wickedness found in the dark places of man’s heart.  I will speak the truth of God’s word over the circumstances of this world.  I will lean deeply into the scriptures that breathe life into my brokenness.  I will not politicize the situation and try to solve what I know is the depths of sin and the depravity of man, which can only be resolved through belief in Christ Jesus.  I will repent, personally.  I will pray.  I will grieve my own sin and stand in the gap as one who knows there is so much more to life than what I see with my temporal eyes.  I will not believe the lie that I am made for wrath and I will experience the great peace that passes my human understanding as I lean into the promises of my maker and thank Him for His presence and His truth.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says…

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Love and truth are absolutes, they cannot be authentically communicated outside of their defined purposes and apart from their divine creator.  You see, the truth is God is love. Truth cannot be spoken apart from Him who made life and love cannot be experienced without the author and perfecter of our faith.

So here is the truth…

Love is first patient then kind. Patient with the poor, “the huddled masses yearning to breathe free”.  Patient with the addict who once again finds himself backsliding and broken.  Patient with the child who should have known better and the spouse who could have done more.  Patient with the lost, the nonbeliever, the angry, the hurting.

Love is also kind.  Kind to the stranger in this land, to the person from the other political party, to the one you disagree with online.  Kind to those who persecute you and kind to those who choose to be unkind themselves.

Love cannot be jealous, boastful, proud or rude.  Love doesn’t demand its own way or become irritable.  Love will not hold a grudge, which means love forgives continually.

Love will never rejoice in injustice; but will always find great joy when truth overcomes.  Love won’t quit or give up and it will never lose faith.  Love is hopeful always, no matter what and will endure every circumstance, even the dark moments filled with despair.

So if God is love, “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”  (1 John 4: 7-8)

In the wake of this tidal wave of tragedy, the feelings of despair and hopelessness threaten to swallow me whole; however, my spirit fights back with love.  A complete and perfect love from God.  A love that doesn’t excuse wrongdoing, but also doesn’t seek revenge.  A love that prays for my enemies and those who persecute me, while asking God to soften hearts and heal brokenness.  A love that mourns with those who mourn; while still having hope that God is bigger and has good plans for His people, plans for a future and a hope.

 

Today, I found that much needed hope on the pages of an American public school textbook.  Words from 1967 spoken by Baptist Minister Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  seemed both poignant and appropriate for this turbulent time.

“As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough… I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I’m speaking….Could it be that they do not know that the Good News was meant for all men — for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the One who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the Vietcong or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this One? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?…I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.  This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls “enemy,” for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.”

Please pray. Pray today for all who are hurting because of this tragedy, for wisdom to fill the minds of our leaders as they face the aftermath, for hearts to see the broken, the lost, the quiet who suffer, for courage to stand up for those who need it and love to speak truth even when we are angry and hurting.  Pray for revival to start here and now in our homes and our community.  Pray for truth to win and for injustice to end.  Pray for hands that share and for hearts that give.  Please pray.

“Oh God forgive us.”